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Metaphysics

Contemporary Theories of Knowledge by Joseph Cruz

By Joseph Cruz

This re-creation of the vintage modern Theories of information has been considerably up to date to incorporate analyses of the hot literature in epistemology. instead of only making moderate amendments to the 1st version, Pollock and Cruz have undertaken a groundbreaking review of twentieth-century epistemology. This publication is either a sophisticated textbook providing conventional discussions of foundationalism, coherentism, and reliabilism and a close treatise at the authors' personal unique view, direct realism.

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First, we must have an account of the epistemologically basic beliefs. This must include an account of which beliefs are epistemologically basic, and an account of the sense in which they are self-justifying. Second, we must have an account of Òepistemic ascentÓ Ñthe way in which nonbasic beliefs are justified by appeal to basic beliefs. A number of different answers have been proposed for each of these questions, and they will be examined in detail in the next chapter. 2 Coherence Theories What distinguishes foundations theories from other doxastic theories is that they give some limited class of beliefs (the epistemologically basic beliefs) a privileged role in epistemic justification.

Projectibility is not the only source of difficulty in formulating precise rules of induction. In the case of statistical induction, even the precise form that the conclusion should take is doubtful. If we observe that out of n AÕs our sample contains m BÕs, we conclude that the probability of an arbitrary A being a B is approximately m/n. That means that the probability lies in some interval around m/n, but how narrow an interval? Untutored intuition does not seem to give us any guidance on this at all.

Either of these presumptions could be denied. For a foundations theory to work, the class of basic beliefs must satisfy two conditions: (1) there must be enough basic beliefs to provide a foundation for all other justified beliefs, and (2) the basic beliefs must have a secure status that does not require them to be justified by appeal to further justified beliefs. We have formulated this second condition by saying that basic beliefs must be self-justifying in the sense that one can be justified in holding such a belief merely by virtue of the fact that one does hold itÑone does not need an independent reason for holding a basic belief.

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