The incoherence of empiricism

Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 66 (1):99-138 (1992)
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Abstract

Radical empiricism is the view that a person's experiences (sensory and introspective), or a person's observations, constitute the person's evidence. This view leads to epistemic self-defeat. There are three arguments, concerning respectively: (1) epistemic starting points; (2) epistemic norms; (3) terms of epistemic appraisal. The source of self-defeat is traced to the fact that empiricism does not count a priori intuition as evidence (where a priori intuition is not a form of belief but rather a form of seeming, specifically intellectual as opposed to sensory). Moderate rationalism, by contrast, avoids self-defeat.

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George Bealer
Yale University

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