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Bonjour's Self-Defeating Argument for Coherentism

Thomas Grundmann
Erkenntnis (1975-)
Vol. 50, No. 2/3, Coherence and Dynamics of Belief (1999), pp. 463-479
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20012929
Page Count: 17
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Bonjour's Self-Defeating Argument for Coherentism
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Abstract

One of the most influential arguments for the coherence theory of empirical justification is BonJour's a priori argument from the internalist regress. According to this argument, foundationalism cannot solve the problem of the internalist regress since internalism is incompatible with basic beliefs. Hence, coherentism seems to be the only option. In my article I contend that this argument is doomed to failure. It is either too strong or too weak. Too strong, since even coherentism cannot stop the internalist regress in any legitimate way. In order to demonstrate this claim I will discuss various coherentist strategies. Too weak, since, were coherentism able to stop the regress, the argument against foundationalism would collapse.

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