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Foundationalism And The Infinite Regress Essay

1524 words - 7 pages

Topic: In your considered (and informed) opinion, does foundationalism adequately address “the Problem of infinite regress” with respect to justification? Then follow this up by presenting your answer to this question in the form of a well composed argument for your reader in support of your conclusion.

Renee Descartes was born to Joachim Descartes and Jeanne Brochard on March 31st 1596 in La Haye, France he was first credited with being “the father of Modern Philosophy”. Throughout Descartes years of study he was plague by the decision to question how much of his knowledge were true and how much were false. He set out to establish a system of knowledge on a foundation of beliefs whose ...view middle of the document...

For something to be believable it must have a basic belief, if it’s a non-basic belief it must be satisfied by adding a basic belief, or if it is non-basic belief is must be supported by a non-basic belief that is supported by a basic belief. The distinction between basic and non-basic belief is referred to as non- inferential and inferential belief.
Descartes belief that in order for something to be considered basic belief in must possess little or no doubt meaning it should be indubitable; in addition to indubitable it must also be incorrigible, incorrigible means that it cannot be corrected, infallible is the final belief that makes up a basic belief, infallible means possesses nothing false. In other words a basic belief must be 100% true. Consider the following examples; Marie told me that she will pass her Accounting exam by no less than a 100%, knowing this exam is complex, I ask Marie what made her so sure that she will get all the questions correct on the exam, to justify her conclusion Marie told me that the teacher told her that in all her years of teaching she had never had met a student that got a 100% in her class, and that she Marie should be extremely proud. In this case Marie had justifiable reasons to believe that she got 100% in her exam, because her teacher concluded to her that she did get a 100%. Before speaking with her teacher Marie had only a non-basic belief in thinking that she would get a 100%, when the teacher confirmed that Marie did get a 100% this provided supportive information and changed the argument into a belief.
Foundationalism has been plaque with many skeptics, skeptics who assumed that not everything in life needs to be justified. Many people such as those who followed the scholastics believed that everyone is born with a blank slate, and that knowledge is developed later through intellectual stimulations. Descartes later dismissed this belief stating that our senses can be deceiving, and because they can be deceiving they are an unreliable source of knowledge. The truth of a prepositions based on stimulations proves to be very problematic since stimulations are based on senses and the senses can be doubtful when used in an argument.
This brings us to the point of the infinite regress and its relation to justification and foundationalism. The infinite regress is regarded as the case where we must justify the reasons; if something is supposed to be count as knowledge it must also be justified. If the reasons count as knowledge then they too must be justified. According to (Fumerton 920) there are three reasons to reject infinitism. Reason one “infinite minds cannot complete an infinity long chain of reasoning, so if all justifications were inferential we would have no justification for believing anything. Reason two “not only a chain would be two infinitely long, the infinite regress are mushrooming out in an infinite number of directions. If finite minds should worry about the possibility of...

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