Basic beliefs

Under the epistemological view called foundationalism, basic beliefs (also commonly called foundational beliefs) are the axioms of a belief system.

Foundationalism holds that all beliefs must be justified in order to be believed. Beliefs therefore fall into two categories:

  • Beliefs that are properly basic, in that they do not depend upon justification of other beliefs, but on something outside the realm of belief (a "non-doxastic justification")
  • Beliefs that derive from one or more basic beliefs, and therefore depend on the basic beliefs for their validity

Within this basic framework of foundationalism exist a number of views regarding which types of beliefs qualify as properly basic; that is, what sorts of beliefs can be justifiably held without the justification of other beliefs.

In classical foundationalism, beliefs are held to be properly basic if they are either self-evident axiom, or evident to the senses (empiricism).[1] However Anthony Kenny and others have argued that this is a self-refuting idea.[2]

  • In modern foundationalism, beliefs are held to be properly basic if they were either self-evident axiom or incorrigible.[3] One such axiom is RenĂ© Descartes's axiom, Cogito ergo sum ("I think, therefore I am"). Incorrigible (lit. uncorrectable) beliefs are those one can believe without possibly being wrong. Notably, the evidence of the senses is not seen as properly basic because, Descartes argued, all our sensory experience could be an illusion.
  • In what Keith Lehrer has called "fallible foundationalism",[4] also known as "moderate foundationalism", the division between inferential and non-inferential belief is retained, but the requirement of incorrigibility is dropped. This, it is claimed, allows the senses to resume their traditional role as the basis of non-inferential belief despite their fallibility.[5]
  • In reformed epistemology, beliefs are held to be properly basic if they are reasonable and consistent with a sensible world view.

Anti-foundationalism rejects foundationalism and denies there is some fundamental belief or principle which is the basic ground or foundation of inquiry and knowledge.[6]

Notes and references

See also

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.