Posts filed under ‘foundherentism’

Haack, Bayesian? pt. 2

By now I’ve finished the second chapter of Evidence and Inquiry, and I think gathered some material for a Foundherentist support of Bayesianism. One of Haack’s prime objections to Lewis’ formulation of foundationalism is that he demands certainty in order for a belief to be justified. Repeatedly, however, Haack declares that beliefs only need to be justified to “some degree”.

“A’s belief that p cannot be justified to any degree, non-relatively, unless, eventually, the chain ends with a belief or beliefs which is or are justified to some degree independently of further beliefs. But it is not required that the basic belief or beliefs eventually reached be completely justified independently of any further beliefs.” (Haack, 43)

This is the primary reason why foundherintism beats out foundationalism as a coherent epistimological system. While I haven’t yet investigated Haack’s other writings for the same Bayesian thread, this doesn’t seem like a bad line of inquiry to pursue. Also, Haack is so precise in her definition of terms (and so critical of others’ lack of precision, as in her somewhat sarcastic critique of Lewis use of terms on 38) that I doubt it’s a coincidence that she phrases her argument with “to some degree”.

August 7, 2007 at 12:03 am Leave a comment

Haack, Bayesian?

If anyone needed evidence that I try to make as many connections as possible between different readings, this blog would be a smoking gun. Todays philosophy mash-up comes from the beginning of the second chapter of Susan Haack’s Evidence and Inquiry: Towards Reconstruction in Epistemology. As usual, I need to read more of the book, and more of Haack’s other writings, before I can fully flesh out my idea. At this point, however, it seems to me that Haack’s foundherentism may be very sympathetic to Bayesian theories of confirmation.

I wrote a paper this past semester on Clark Glymour’s take on Bayesianism, and was generally sympathetic to his criticism. It seems altogether too subjective a system for something which is supposed to establish whether or not evidence confirms an idea (or perhaps, is justified in believing an idea based on evidence). My views on Bayesianism will probably be fleshed out further on this blog at a later time. Like most of the things I post about.

While I don’t like Bayesian ideas, I do think that Foundherentism has something to it… it will be interesting to see if 1) the correlation between Foundherentism to Bayesianism has more to it and 2) if I look more or less favorably on Bayesian ideas following my reading of Haack.

August 6, 2007 at 5:34 pm Leave a comment


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Everything on this blog should be taken as a draft, the spilling over of mental activity flung far and wide. The author is a graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, MA who enjoys many things but devotes most of this space to matters academic.
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