Foundations and Justification: A Response to Klein’s Objections to Foundationalism as a Solution to the Epistemic Regress Problem

Talisik: An Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):32-45 (2021)
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Abstract

Since the resurgence of infinitism in contemporary epistemology, Peter Klein has been consistent in providing arguments against the three other possible solutions (i.e., foundationalism, coherentism, skepticism) to the Regress Problem, which in turn is a key aspect of the justification condition for the traditional account of knowledge as justified true belief. Klein’s successful effort in reviving the often-dismissed solution and further advancing it as the sole solution to the Regress Problem cannot be ignored as he finds it necessary to not only raise problems for the viability of the three contenders but, more so, definitively invalidate them as equally possible solutions. This paper responds to Klein’s objection to foundationalism, the crucial reasons for which he offers in several of his works concerning infinitism and the Regress Problem: i) that foundationalism inevitably leads either to arbitrariness or to the continuation of the regress of reasons; ii) that a proposition continuously enhanced by reasons has more epistemic warrant than a proposition supported by a chain of reasons which ends at basic beliefs, and; iii) that basic beliefs are not tantamount to fully justified beliefs. For each, certain problems can be raised by employing foundationalist arguments in order to arrive at the conclusion that in spite of his astute reasoning, Klein’s objection is insufficient to rule out foundationalism as a possible solution to the Regress Problem.

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Joshua Jose Ocon
Ateneo de Manila University

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