Coherence, Foundations, and Evidence

Alvin Plantinga

in Warrant and Proper Function

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780195078640
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199872213 | DOI:
Coherence, Foundations, and Evidence

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In this chapter, I (1) examine the contrast between foundationalism and coherentism, and (2) consider evidentialism, a special variety of foundationalism. After arguing that the central tenet of coherentism is that the sole source of warrant is coherence, I argue that coherentism is mistaken and endorse foundationalism. I then offer some brief comments on the inadequacy of classical foundationalism and contrast classical foundationalism to the sort of foundationalism I endorse, which I call Reidian foundationalism. I next turn to an examination of evidentialism, specifically the evidentialism of William Alston, Richard Feldman and Earl Conee (which version of evidentialism I refer to as the AFC view). Taking “evidence” in a sufficiently broad sense, I concur with the AFC view in its claim that whenever some belief B has warrant for an agent S, it is the case that S has evidence for B; I also argue, however, that having evidence is not sufficient for warrant – proper function is also required (and here I part company with the AFC view).

Keywords: Alston; coherence; coherentism; evidence; evidentialism; foundationalism; proper function; Reid; warrant

Chapter.  10580 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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