Chapter

Iceberg Epistemology: Vindicating and Transforming Some Traditional Accounts of Justification

David Henderson and Terence Horgan

in The Epistemological Spectrum

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608546
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729584 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608546.003.0008
Iceberg Epistemology: Vindicating and Transforming Some Traditional Accounts of Justification

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Results in the previous chapter call for an iceberg epistemology with two complementary foci. One is the traditional focus on conscious and accessible psychological factors; the other focus is the full set of epistemologically relevant psychological factors, many of which may be only partially, piecemeal-fashion, accessible. This allows one to revisit and re-conceive certain traditional epistemological doctrines such as foundationalism and coherentism. One then finds that central themes associated with each position can be salvaged, but that doing so requires one to transform each position somewhat, limiting these doctrines in important ways. The holistic themes from coherentism can be honored, with qualifications, but only when abandoning the exclusive focus on occurrent doxastic states that has been characteristic of coherentism. These holistic chores are managed at the level of the full set of epistemically relevant psychological factors. The foundationalist insistence on terminating chains of justificatory bases does seem to characterize the justificatory processes at the level of accessible processes. But there will be some complications in just where justificatory bases leave off—and these will not be fully understandable at the level of accessible processes. Properly limited and conceived of as treating of processes understood in terms of the different foci just distinguished, coherentism and foundationalism are compatible and can each be honored—along with the position sometimes called contextualism.

Keywords: epistemic justification; naturalized epistemology; morphological content; evidence; iceberg epistemology; foundationalism; coherentism; contextualism

Chapter.  21154 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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