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Synthese

, Volume 195, Issue 9, pp 3899–3917 | Cite as

Foundationalism with infinite regresses of probabilistic support

  • William Roche
S.I.: Epistemic Justification

Abstract

There is a long-standing debate in epistemology on the structure of justification. Some recent work in formal epistemology promises to shed some new light on that debate. I have in mind here some recent work by David Atkinson and Jeanne Peijnenburg, hereafter “A&P”, on infinite regresses of probabilistic support. A&P show that there are probability distributions defined over an infinite set of propositions {\(p_{1}, p_{2}, p_{3}, {\ldots }, p_{n}, {\ldots }\}\) such that (i) \(p_{i}\) is probabilistically supported by \(p_{i+1}\) for all i and (ii) \(p_{1}\) has a high probability. Let this result be “APR” (short for “A&P’s Result”). A&P oftentimes write as though they believe that APR runs counter to foundationalism. This makes sense, since there is some prima facie plausibility in the idea that APR runs counter to foundationalism, and since some prominent foundationalists argue for theses inconsistent with APR. I argue, though, that in fact APR does not run counter to foundationalism. I further argue that there is a place in foundationalism for infinite regresses of probabilistic support.

Keywords

Atkinson Foundationalism Infinite regresses of probabilistic support Justification Peijnenburg 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks to David Atkinson, Jeanne Peijnenburg, Adam Podlaskowski, Tomoji Shogenji, Joshua Smith, and two anonymous referees for helpful comments and/or discussion.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyTexas Christian UniversityFort WorthUSA

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