1 Gábor Forgács, Tihamér Margitay, Zsolt Ziegler Dept. of Philosophy and the History of Science 1111 Budapest, Egry J. st. 1. E EPISTEMOLOGY: Foundationalism
2 Subject Matter We have good reasons to accept some beliefs (which are justified, but there are not justified ones). It is justified that: Hemoglobin in the blood is what transports oxygen from the lungs or gills to the rest of the body (i.e. the tissues) where it releases the oxygen for cell use. Because: I believe (i.) oxygen is crucial for cells (ii.) Humans have lungs, cells (iii.) Microscopes represt the world as it is... It is not justified that: There are extraterrestrial intelligent beings, and they have already visited the Earth. Because: I do not believe that (i.) intergalactic starships can be built (ii.) I believe nothing can go faster than the speed of the light, etc...
3 Subject Matter Questions: Should all beliefs be supported by other beliefs? Are there beliefs which cannot be doubted? Is there an absolute certain ground of our knowledge? Are some beliefs rightly believed apart from receiving support from other beliefs? What is the nature of the proper support between beliefs? Take just about every belief you have- you only believe it because it RESTS on other beliefs. It relies on them. For example: I believe that it is light outside.
4 The Foundation of Justified Beliefs But Dady... Our beliefs, in turn seem to rest on other beliefs: why? but why? I believe it is light outside... but why?... (i.) because I believe I can see light with my eyes (ii.) because I believe that my eyes are working.. (iii.) because I believe that I am healthy. (iv.)...and so on, and so on (v.) Infinitely(?)
5 How do you know? There are conditions in which we accept a statement without further justification. (a) Budapest is the capital of Hungary. (b) The water freezes at the temperature of 0 degrees centigrade. We don't doubt them. In some cases we do require a justification. When we ask: How do you know that?, we ask for a justification. A) Debates in everyday life; How do you know that the Bayern will win the Chapions Legue? B) On the court the prosecutor wants to prove that the defendant is guilt. C) Scientific theories require justification. (There are different methods and requirements of justification.) But there might be situations in which even the statement 'Budapest is the capital of Hungary' requires for a justification. (A foreign turist confuses Bucharest with Budapest.)
6 The Foundation of Justified Beliefs It seems that beliefs seem to rely on other beliefs, which then rest on other beliefs, as if they were in a chain. The question is: Are there any beliefs on which all other beliefs rest? Are there any beliefs which do NOT rely on any other belief? In other words, are there any FOUNDATIONAL beliefs? Imagine the Foundations of a building
7 Your Turn! (1) Make groups according to your research fields! (2) Think on a statement that plays a serious role in your research field! (3) Form that statement! (4) Try to gather as much presumption/beliefs required for your statement as it is possible! (not all of them) (5) Name these presumptions/beliefs (or a few of them)! (6) Finally, tell us how could we justify them!
8 Fundationalism FOUNDATIONALISTS think that there are fundational beliefs attempt to find such beliefs. believe there must be. Why? Because of the REGRESS argument: If every belief rests on another one, and that rests on another one, and so on and so on, then there is a REGRESS that goes on forever Which doesn t make sense. It just doesn t seem logical. There wouldn t be a foundation for knowledge, or a reason to believe anything. Therefore, there must be a FOUNDATION for our beliefs, in order for us to believe anything at all.
9 Inferential and Non-Inferential Beliefs For a foundationalist there are two kinds of beliefs: Inferential and Non-Inferential 1. Inferential beliefs. These are statements of belief that rest on other statements of belief I believe that it is light outside. Hemoglobin in the blood is what transports oxygen from the lungs or gills to the rest of the body (i.e. the tissues) where it releases the oxygen for cell use. 2. Non-Inferential beliefs Beliefs that DO NOT rest on ANY other belief. They stand alone These are basic beliefs. They are immediatly justified beliefs Their justification is a non-infential justification. These basic beliefs are usually considered incorrigible, infallible, certain. The basic beliefs support the other beliefs. Non-basic beliefs are justified if they can be inferred from basic beliefs. They are at the foundations of belief.
10 Skeptic Position: The Regress Argument P1: If there is a justification of our beliefs, then it leads to the infinite or ends at an unjustified belief or runs in a circle or there are self-justified beliefs. P2: The infinite reasoning cannot be a proper justification of our beliefs. P3: The circular reasoning cannot be a proper justification of our beliefs. P4: Appealing to unjustified belief cannot be proper justification. P5: There are no self-justified beliefs. C: None of our beliefs are justified.
11 Our Plan for Today P1: If there is a justification of our beliefs, then it leads to the infinite or ends at an unjustified belief or runs in a circle or there are self-justified beliefs. P2: The infinite reasoning cannot be a proper justification of our beliefs. P3: The circular reasoning cannot be a proper justification of our beliefs. P4: Appealing to unjustified belief cannot be proper justification. P5: There are no self-justified beliefs. C: None of our beliefs are justified.
12 Vicious Circle If there is a circle, is it indeed vicious? - Denial of P3 A F B E C D (A B) & (B C) & (C D) & (D E) & ( E F) & (F A) A A
13 Vicious Circle If there is a circle, is it indeed vicious? - Denilal of P3 A F B Perfectly valid inference:0 = 0 E C But not informative D (A B) & (B C) & (C D) & (D E) & ( E F) & (F A) A A
14 Vicious Network i. What if the inference structure is incredibly complex? ii. Is it a vicious network? / Is it uninformative?
15 Vicious Network What if the inference structure is incredibly complex? / Is it a vicious network? / Is it uninformative? Connectivism in the Philosophy of Mind?
16 Your Turn i. Form two groups: (a) and (b) ii.a Find counterarguments for inferential justification of beliefs ii.b Find arguments for inferential justification of beliefs
17 Non-Inferential Justification (P5)
18 Non-Inferential Justification What are these basic beliefs? How can the basic beliefs provide appropriate support in favour of other, non-basic beliefs? Foundationalism comes from Empricists. It is a very natural assumption: Body! I see it! Its my arm! Some empiricists believed that Foundational beliefs could be found in the beliefs that someone has about their experiences, their senses.
19 Non-Inferential Justification Basic beliefs cannot be justified by inference, its justification is dependent on the justification of other beliefs from which the reasoning proceeds. Basically, they claim that what we believe about our perceptions, must be Foundational. We cannot be mistaken about them. Ordinary perceptual beliefs can be fallible.
20 Non-Inferential Justification - Ordinary perceptual beliefs can be fallible. - Perceptual errors: 1. If I see a red shirt in green light I may think it is black. 2. I see an orange in front of me. Now, I could very well be mistaken that it is an orange. Nonetheless, I cannot be mistaken that I what I see before me, I THINK is an organge. IT SEEMS to be an orange. It is that I cannot be mistaken about. I see an orange-colour, roughly spherical object with a certain texture, height, shininess, etc. It might be an illusion, a mirage, a fake or a hologram but I am sure it seems as it is.
21 Non-Inferential Justification: It seems to me Remember: Phenomenology it seems to me cannot be questioned even if my perception is challenged Theories of perception I looked at wall, it seems to white. I cannot be mistaken about: it does seem to white. - Our beliefs about our present sensory states are INFALLIBLE they cannot be proved wrong. - Empiricists often see our SENSORY beliefs as FOUNDATIONAL, because we don t need to base them on any other belief.
22 Classical Foundationalism 1. Our basic beliefs are beliefs about our sensory experience. How do you know...? type-questions lead us to beliefs of immediate experience Because I see /hear... it! 1.1. The basic beliefs are about my present state sensory experience. 2. These beliefs are considered infallible. 3. Other beliefs can be derived from the basic beliefs about sensory experiences. - Any beliefs NOT about our present sensory states, ultimately rely on beliefs about those states. - Example: I believe that Budapest exists. I believe this because I believe in maps, travel shows and my own memory. Ultimately, I believe it because I can see a world in front of my eyes which roughly corresponds to the kind of world in which Budapest exists.
23 Classical Foundationalism Deductive valid inference I. P1: Now '0' seems to me a circle. P2: If something seems to me circle, it is a circle. C: '0' is circle.
24 Classical Foundationalism: Make it stronger! Incorrigible beliefs i. Incorrigibility: A proposition P is incorrigible for a person S if and only if (1) it is necessarily true that if S believes P then P is true, and (2) it is necessarily true that if S believes ~P then P is false. 1. IC N(Pb Pt) 2. ~IC N(~Pb Pf) ii. Believing P should guarantee that P is true, and believing ~P should guarantee that P is false. iii. This is attempt to define incorrigibility for propositions: No one could be in a position to correct an incorrigible belief. iv. Beliefs about the external world are corrigible, but according to classical foundationalism appearance beliefs are incorrigible (cannot be doubted).
25 Classical Foundationalism Deductive valid inference II. P1: Now '0' seems to me a circle. P2: If something seems to me circle, it is a circle. P3: If anything seem to me as such and such, it is incorrigibly such and such C: '0' is incorrigibly a circle. C2: No one could be in a position to correct me it is not circle.
26 Problems with The Definition of Incorrigibility 1. IC N(Pb Pt) - 2. ~IC N(~Pb Pf) But, there are beliefs which are certain (in a sense) and no one could be in a position to correct them which are not self-justifying. 1'. M[IC & ( Pt ~Pb )] - When I believe in complex and true mathematical theorem, I cannot be wrong, but it doesn't mean that I have a justification. I.e. Fermat theorem / Goldbach conjencture - Mathematical theorems remain true (in some sense) even if one disbelieves them.
27 Problems II. o None of the definitions of 'infallibility', 'incorrigibilty' are proper coherent definitions of 'being justified'. o But, let us 'p' - I'm awake o This is proposition 'p' about my own mental state, and if I'm really awake I believe that I'm awake. But is possible that I'm mistaken Illucid dreams o Being self-presenting doesn't mean that the belief is justified. I belive that p, when p is true. But it doesn't mean that p is (self-)justified. I may believe p when p is false
28 Classical Foundationalism Deductive valid inference I. P1: Now '0' seems to me a circle. Fallible P2: If something seems to me circle, it is a circle. C: '0' is circle. Being self-presenting doesn't mean that the belief is justified
29 Problems III. Suppose that we have infallible beliefs 1. How can we infer to non-basic beliefs? 2. What is relation between the basic and non-basic beliefs? These appearences (or 'appearance beliefs') are subjective. They are about my own present experiences, but not about the external world. How can they establish beliefs about the external world?
30 Problems III. Deductive valid inference I. P1: Now '0' seems to me a circle. (assuming infallible) P2: If something seems to me circle, it is a circle. fallible C: '0' is circle. Valid, even if P1 turns us to be true, C might be false, since P2 is false. There are possible cases when I have misperception. (not illusion or hallucination If one may misperceive something, then she mistakenly infer from the (mis)perception to its real features. Are some bell ringing????!barkely!???
31 Problems III. - Misperception - Imagine walking into a room and smelling your favorite perfume or aftershave. When you compliment the wearer, they correct you, and you say to yourself, Ah yes, that s right. So my words, my description can be wrong, but not my phenomenal experience. Is it about just words? J.L. Austin argued that there COULD be times when we are mistaken about the phenomenal character we experience. NOT JUST the words we use, but our actual perception. Maybe we didn t pay close enough attention to what we were seeing, or hadn t been trained to notice it.
32 Problems III. - Misperception What colours are these? RED Blue Yellow The non-basic beliefs are fallible, even if we assume the basic beliefs are infallible. Because we don't have conclusive reasons to conclude to non-basic beliefs. Non-basic beliefs can be only probably true, even if the basic beliefs are infallible.
33 Weaker Formulations of Foundationalism William Alston argues for a different version of foundationalism. New distinction between epistemic beliefs and non-epistemic beliefs. (A.) Epistemic beliefs are beliefs whose content contains an epistemic concept such as knowledge or justification. (B.) Non-epistemic belief does not contain an epistemic concept. I.e: The belief that there is a red circle before me is not an epistemic belief because does not contain any epistemic concepts. I.e: The belief that I am justified in believing that there is a red, circle before me is an epistemic belief.
34 Weaker Formulations of Foundationalism An argument against (classical) foundationalism might require that To be justified in believing that p one must justifiedly believe that 'I am justified in believing that p'. Alston: P1. I can justifiedly believe that p (non-e), unless I'm justified in I'm justifiedly belief that p. (E) P2. Foundationalism doesn't require that: being justified and the ability of making a justification are the same. - S can be justified in believing that she has hands without being in a position to exhibit her justification. - S is justified in believing that she has existed for more than five minutes but she cannot demonstrate her justification.
35 Weaker Formulations of Foundationalism P3. - Immediately justified beliefs may be fallible, revisable, and dubitable. For having justified beliefs does not require to know beliefs are justified S s belief that she has hands is might be false and revised in light of future evidence. Perhaps she has been fitted with a prosthetic device that looks and functions just like a normal hand. But when she looks and appears to see a hand, she is fully justified in believing that she has hands. (Would Grice deny it? Causal Theory of Perception)
36 Externalist Account of Foundationalism * Being justified depends on factors which are external compared to my mind. * It is possible that we have evolved in such a way that when prompted with certain sensory input we immediately and unreflectively reach conclusions about external objects. * If nature has been co-operative enough to insure the evolution of cognitive agents to have mostly true beliefs then we can draw in arriving at inferentially justified conclusions Internalist: Externalists are simply re-defining epistemic justification with evolutionary reliabilism. But, we want to provide a kind of assurance of truth / Necessary and satisfactory condition of knowledge
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