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Foundationalism, Epistemic Dependence, and Defeasibility

Robert Audi
Synthese
Vol. 55, No. 1, Justification and Empirical Knowledge, Parts I and II (Apr., 1983), pp. 119-139
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20115860
Page Count: 21
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Foundationalism, Epistemic Dependence, and Defeasibility
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Abstract

This paper is an examination of modest foundationalism in relation to some important criteria of epistemic dependence. The paper distinguishes between causal and epistemic dependence and indicates how each might be related to reasons. Four kinds of reasons are also distinguished: reasons to believe, reasons one has for believing, reasons for which one believes, and reasons why one believes. In the light of all these distinctions, epistemic dependence is contrasted with defeasibility, and it is argued that modest foundationalism is not committed to criteria of epistemic dependence on which foundational beliefs are indefeasible. Modest foundationalism is contrasted with coherentism and is shown to be hospitable to a causal criterion of epistemic dependence, compatible with reliabilism, and neutral with respect to skepticism.

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