October 5th, 2012
In this post I’ll be responding to R.A. Fumerton’s “Inferential Justification and Empiricism” in The Journal of Philosophy 73/17 (1976).
In this paper Fumerton argues for the empiricist’s version of foundationalism. He draws important distinctions between senses of how one may be inferentially justified. His argument is matched against another argument, which proceeds from observations about what we do and do not infer. His primary contention is that is that one can never have a noninfterentially justified belief in a physical-object proposition. One must always justify one’s beliefs in propositions about the physical world by appealing to other beliefs or basic beliefs; a thesis I disagree with.
I will be faithful to knowledge being defined as a justified true belief. The task that is of concern in this paper is to examine the coherence of inferential reasoning in a foundationalist’s system. A problem with inference to the best explanation (IBE) is that it has the potential to create an infinite regress. With inferential reasoning, in an attempt to justify a belief in proposition P there may be an appeal to another proposition (or set of propositions) E, and by either explicitly or implicitly appeal to a third proposition, that E confirms or makes P probable. The challenge of inferential justification challenges one of two propositions:
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January 25th, 2012
The Word of the Week is: Existential Instantiation
Definition: A rule of inference that introduces existential quantifiers. The symbol for an existential quantifier is (∃x).
More about the term: The existential quantifier indicates that there is at least one thing in a categorical reference. Instantiation is an operation that removes a quantifier and replaces every variable bound by the quantifier with that same instantial letter. There are eight rules of inference to derive a conclusion of an argument via deduction:
- Modus Ponens: p ⊃ q … p… .:q
- Modus Tollens: p ⊃ q … ~q … .: ~p
- Pure Hypothetical Syllogism: p ⊃ q … q ⊃ r … .: p ⊃ r
- Disjunctive Syllogism: p v q … ~q … .:p
- Constructive Dilemma: (p ⊃ q) & (r ⊃ s) … p v r … .: q v s
- Simplification: p & q… .: p
- Conjunction: p … q … .: p & q
- Addition: p … .: p v q
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