The (many) foundations of knowledge

Walter Hopp

in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Phenomenology

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199594900
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

The (many) foundations of knowledge

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  • Epistemology
  • Philosophy of Mind


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This paper presents the outlines of a phenomenological theory of foundational or non-inferential knowledge according to which the facts or states of affairs towards which our beliefs are intentionally directed can sometimes serve as reasons or evidence for what we believe. This occurs in acts of fulfillment, in which an object or state of affairs is given as it is thought to be. Hopp further argues that the sorts of empirical facts that can serve as reasons for noninferentially justified beliefs are not confined to facts about one’s own occurrent mental states, but include facts about the physical world as well. In the course of defending the view against objections, Hopp argues that we should be internalists about the reasons in virtue of which what we believe is justified but externalists about the factors in virtue of which our states of believing have the status of being justified. He also argues against the claim that mental states, such as perceptual experiences, constitute our evidence for empirical beliefs.

Keywords: immediate justification; foundationalism; knowledge; mental states; mental acts; consciousness; hallucinations; illusions

Article.  11813 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Epistemology ; Philosophy of Mind

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