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Foundationalism, Basic Beliefs

Posted Jan 12, '14 at 1:05pm

FishPreferred

FishPreferred

1,955 posts

This move is just too quick. I read a paper a few weeks ago that tried to work some philosophy of mind with epistemology in order to show that we can know we're not being radically deceived. It didn't go well.


Although true, that isn't what I'm getting at. I only want to establish that in order to perceive anything, a representation of that thing must exist in our perception, and in order to conceive anything, a like representation must exist in concept.
In a scenario where the observer is deceived, the deception that occurs must be a real event, because it affects the observer by causing them to perceive whatever illusion they are perceiving, and the illusion must be a real stimulus in order to be observed.
 

Posted Jan 14, '14 at 12:11pm

Moegreche

Moegreche

3,293 posts

Moderator

This is all very good. It's like Descartes on steroids!!

But your claims are metaphysical ones: "the deception that occurs must be a real event" ... " the illusion must be a real stimulus". Mage, on the other hand, is concerned with the epistemology of foundationalism. I have a feeling that his goals lie somewhere in the realm of religious beliefs that are properly basic.

Descartes used the indubitable claim that he is a thinking thing in order to show that God exists. The Reformed Epistemology agenda is distinctly different.

But the main claim before us, with this in mind, is whether there are properly basic religious beliefs. That is, are there religious beliefs that don't need justification?

Suppose I experience a deep and profound religious phenomenological event. For example, suppose I hear a booming voice that tells me something no other person knows or could know. What am I to believe? Can I use this to justify the existence of God?

Also, Mage, if I'm getting off-track here please feel free to correct me. I have a feeling you're on to something, though I'm not quite sure what it is. Though if it is what I think it is, then C. I. Lewis would have a few things to say (this is CI Lewis the philosopher, not CS Lewis the religious author).

 

Posted Jan 14, '14 at 10:15pm

FishPreferred

FishPreferred

1,955 posts

But the main claim before us, with this in mind, is whether there are properly basic religious beliefs. That is, are there religious beliefs that don't need justification?


I can think of two ways in which a belief could be said to need no justification:
1 Being unavoidably true, because this would be intrinsically justified.
2 Being unavoidably false, because no amount of justification can make a fallacy true.

On the subject of religion, only examples of 2 are readily apparent, although I would consider some aspects of Spinoza's pantheism to be examples of 1. Any kind of personal experience can easily be fabricated (whether it be fever or toxin-induced delurium, faulty memory, extreme wishful thinking, an elaborate practical joke gone way out of hand, or whatever), so I would reject your example.
 

Posted Jan 17, '14 at 3:13pm

MageGrayWolf

MageGrayWolf

9,804 posts

Knight

I've been meaning to address this thread for days now. My attention has been very much divided this week and next week isn't looking any better unfortunately. So I'm probably really not in the best frame of mind right now to try and tackle the subject, but anyway...

I have a feeling that his goals lie somewhere in the realm of religious beliefs that are properly basic.


This was a point I thought was worth touching on but it was sort of secondary to the underlining core views of foundationalism. I suppose to pull from the wiki article and turn it into a question "what sorts of beliefs can be justifiably held without the justification of other beliefs"?

But to get into the religious realm for a moment, with the examples given of proper basic beliefs all seemed to demonstrate some sort of utlitary function to holding them. Is there anything like that with a religious belief?

This all seems to almost touch on concepts of faith, which frankly I reject.

On yet another note,
I tend to treat what I view as true in a tentative sense. Would that have any clash with the views of foundationalism?
 

Posted Jan 21, '14 at 2:38am

Kennethhartanto

Kennethhartanto

248 posts

A very heavy topic, i say. Ok let me try to learn more about this

Would that have any clash with the views of foundationalism?


maybe yes, maybe no. what i catch from your last comments, is that you see what is true in it's truest sense according to you, so you will need an explanation on why it is not seen as false a.k.a not true / flawed. but according to moegreche in the second comment in the first page....

These would be cognitive states that can confer justification on beliefs but that they themselves don't need to be justified.


maybe you don't need to explain why it is not true. ex : let's say you believe in the existence of god. you can't prove he exist or not (obviously). but because you believe it, it would mean to you to be worth "true". you won't need an explanation on why god exist, because it is basic cognitive ( i regard "religion" as cognitive because, it was the creation of the minds from the past, not something that will just poof and exist) states.

on the other hand, let's say that you believe that god gives us the moral conducts on what is true and what wasn't. you would need to prove why it is "true" and why not "false", because morals are very subjective, and dependent on the person applying it

So guys, tell me what you think about my analysis, is it true or flawed in a way?
 

Posted Jan 21, '14 at 2:12pm

Moegreche

Moegreche

3,293 posts

Moderator

But to get into the religious realm for a moment, with the examples given of proper basic beliefs all seemed to demonstrate some sort of utlitary function to holding them. Is there anything like that with a religious belief?


I'm not sure what you mean by a utilitary function. I'm guessing that these beliefs bring with them some sort of utility (e.g. pleasure, happiness, welfare). But I've never picked up on any sort of theme like that in foudationalism, broadly construed.

I tend to treat what I view as true in a tentative sense. Would that have any clash with the views of foundationalism?


So you might have a 'non-standard' view of truth which we might be able to classify. But that's okay - foundationalism is, at its core, a theory about justification. In fact, making a move like this might actually strengthen the overall foundationalist position!

So guys, tell me what you think about my analysis, is it true or flawed in a way?


I'm having a bit of trouble following. Probably my fault, it's been a long day; so if I'm misreading you here, I'm sorry. I think the gist of it is that if your basic beliefs might undercut other beliefs, then you should give a reason for why you hold these beliefs. The worry with this response is that basic beliefs, by definition, are ones that wouldn't require this sort of justification.

I'm taking this line because of what you say about god being the source of morality. Since that belief might conflict with relativism about morality, we should give justification for it. But since it's (purportedly) a properly basic belief, it needs no justification.

However, you have touched on a crucial point here dealing with coherentism. If I'm a foundationalist, then beliefs that are incompatible with my basic beliefs can't amount to knowledge. First off, they wouldn't be justified. Second (depending on your theory of truth) they wouldn't be properly factive. But a coherentist has the option of rejecting either belief. This, of course, isn't what the Reformed Epistemologist wants - she wants these properly basic beliefs to stand without question. Her response would be that we are talking past her rather than engaging in her position. Or, at least, that's how the dialectic would go. How it comes out in another matter entirely!
 

Posted Jan 21, '14 at 3:35pm

FishPreferred

FishPreferred

1,955 posts

However, you have touched on a crucial point here dealing with coherentism. If I'm a foundationalist, then beliefs that are incompatible with my basic beliefs can't amount to knowledge. First off, they wouldn't be justified. Second (depending on your theory of truth) they wouldn't be properly factive. But a coherentist has the option of rejecting either belief. This, of course, isn't what the Reformed Epistemologist wants - she wants these properly basic beliefs to stand without question. Her response would be that we are talking past her rather than engaging in her position. Or, at least, that's how the dialectic would go. How it comes out in another matter entirely!

It seems like someone using the coherentist approach you've described would be easy prey for circular reasoning, where a very large network of interrelated beliefs is assumed to be self-sufficient. The Koreshans, for example, appear to have relied upon such a network to support their model of the universe.

On a side note, gender specification pops up in some of the most unusual places.

 

Posted Jan 21, '14 at 7:26pm

MageGrayWolf

MageGrayWolf

9,804 posts

Knight

I'm not sure what you mean by a utilitary function. I'm guessing that these beliefs bring with them some sort of utility (e.g. pleasure, happiness, welfare). But I've never picked up on any sort of theme like that in foudationalism, broadly construed.


For instance the belief that the world around us exists and isn't just a figment of our imagination. There is a utilitary function in that belief. For example you stand in the middle of the road with a car coming at you. There is a use to believe that car is real and not a figment of your imagination.

Perhaps a better example would be to contract with people with the rare condition known as Walking Corpse Syndrome aka Cotard delusion, where the person no longer believes they actually exist any more, that they have died. This has lead to people with this condition to starve to death among other things. So there is a utilitary function to hold the belief "I exist".

In fact, making a move like this might actually strengthen the overall foundationalist position!


That's interesting, in what way?
 

Posted Jan 21, '14 at 8:30pm

Kennethhartanto

Kennethhartanto

248 posts

btw, what is the definition of coherentism? i don't really understand philosophical words, also what is Reformed Epistemology? am i really talking about coherentism or foundationlism?

coz i'm neither a philosophist or a wise old man or someone that knows this things inside out

 

Posted Jan 21, '14 at 8:52pm

MageGrayWolf

MageGrayWolf

9,804 posts

Knight

btw, what is the definition of coherentism? i don't really understand philosophical words, also what is Reformed Epistemology?


Here are some wiki pages to get you started. I will leave Moegreche to answer you further as he could do a better job than me.

Coherentism
Reformed epistemology
 
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