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    Descartes and Foundationalism: A Definitive Explanation for Knowledge Possession?

    Deery, Paul (2004) Descartes and Foundationalism: A Definitive Explanation for Knowledge Possession? Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This thesis attempts to investigate whether Descartes’s epistemoiogy as presented in the Meditations should be interpreted in the traditional way, as an example of strong classical foundationalism or whether this traditional account needs to be revised. I will argue not only that the traditional account of Descartes’s epistemoiogy should be revised, but that there is a particular interpretation that may provide compelling reasons to adopt foundationalism. Foundationalism is presented as a theory of epistemic justification. In other words, foundationalism attempts to answer the question: how can we justify what we claim to ‘know’? On the foundationalist account, there are basic beliefs whose justification does not depend on any other beliefs. Then there are beliefs whose justification does seem to depend on other beliefs, these are the non-basic beliefs. Foundationalist theories propose that the basic beliefs provide a solid foundation upon which the rest of our knowledge can be built upon. The attraction of a foundationalist theory is that if it is true, then it may provide a solution to the infinite regress problem. When we claim to know something, the sceptic can ask: how do you know? When we provide an answer to that question, once again the sceptic may ask, and how do you know that? This process could continue indefinitely, in other words an infinite regress of justification is set up. The foundationalist view is that at some point we must reach a base of knowledge which is not in need of further justification.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Descartes; Foundationalism;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Philosophy
    Item ID: 5196
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2014 13:10
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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