A Critical Examination of BonJour’s, Haack’s, and Dancy’s Theory of Empirical Justification

Logos and Episteme 6 (1): 7-34 (2015)
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In this paper, we shall describe and critically evaluate four contemporary theories which attempt to solve the problem of the infinite regress of reasons: BonJour's ‘impure’ coherentism, BonJour's foundationalism, Haack's ‘foundherentism’ and Dancy's pure coherentism. These theories are initially put forward as theories about the justification of our empirical beliefs; however, in fact they also attempt to provide a successful response to the question of their own ‘metajustification.’ Yet, it will be argued that 1) none of the examined theories is successful as a theory of justification of our empirical beliefs, and that 2) they also fall short of being adequate theories of metajustification. It will be further suggested that the failure of these views on justification is not coincidental, but is actually a consequence of deeper and tacitly held problematic epistemological assumptions (namely, the requirements of justificatory generality and epistemic priority), whose acceptance paves the way towards a generalized scepticism about empirical justification.
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