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The Foundations of Knowing

The Foundations of Knowing

Roderick M. Chisholm
Copyright Date: 1982
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    The Foundations of Knowing
    Book Description:

    This collection of essays on the foundations of empirical knowledge brings together ten of Roderick M. Chisholm’s most important papers in epistemology, three of them published for the first time, the others significantly revised and expanded for this edition. The essays in Part I constitute a thoroughgoing defense of foundationalism—the doctrine that our justification for believing always rests upon a self-evident basis. In Part II, Chisholm applies foundationalist principles to various areas within the theory of knowledge, and in part III he presents a history of twentieth-century American epistemology. “Roderick M. Chisholm’s work has been most influential both in the development of epistemology and in the widespread application of his analytic method. I am sure this publication featuring the unification of his views will be of great value to those working on the central issues of philosophy.” Hector-Neri Castañeda, Indiana University Roderick Chisholm is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities in the department of philosophy at Brown University. Among his books are Perceiving: A Philosophical Study, Theory of Knowledge, Person and Object, and The First Person (Minnesota, 1981).

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5556-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-viii)

    This book is an attempt to deal positively and concretely with the fundamental questions of the theory of knowledge.

    Of the four essays that appear in Part I, the first—“A Version of Foundationalism” —is a revised version of a paper that appeared in Volume Five of theMidwest Studies in Philosophy(1980). I attempt there to develop a philosophical theory and express the hope that proponents of alternative programs will be encouraged to do the same. I conclude that no serious alternative in epistemology to foundationalism has yet been formulated.

    The other three essays in Part I were written...

  4. Part I

    • Chapter 1 A Version of Foundationalism
      (pp. 3-32)

      The present essay is an attempt to deal with the basic problems of the theory of knowledge. The general view that is here defended is appropriately called “foundationalism.”

      What are the presuppositions of the theory of knowledge? I shall list six such suppositions. In formulating them, I shall use the first person, but I am quite confident that I am speaking for others as well.

      1) There are certain things I know and certain things I do not know. I can give examples of each. Like Moore, I know that I have two hands and that the earth has existed...

    • Chapter 2 Confirmation and Concurrence
      (pp. 33-42)

      The proposition that most swans are white may be said to confirm the proposition that all swans are white. Confirmation, so considered, is a relation that holds necessarily between propositions and is therefore comparable to logical implication and to entailment. But we may also speak of theapplicationof this absolute relation—of the confirmation that one proposition provides anotherfora particular person S.

      Let us use the expression, “e tends to confirm h,” to refer to the absolute or logical relation that holds between propositions. And let us use “e confirms h for S” to express the application...

    • Chapter 3 Knowledge as Justified True Belief
      (pp. 43-49)

      According to one traditional view, knowledge may be defined as follows:

      S knows that p = Df p; S believes that p; and S is justified in believing that P.

      If in this definition, we take “S is justified in believing that p,” as many of us have done, to mean the same as “It is evident for S that p,” then the definition is not adequate. For E. L. Gettier has shown that, unless we are willing to be skeptics, we must concede that there is evident true belief that isn’t knowledge.¹ Hence, if we understand the traditional definition...

    • Chapter 4 Knowing That One Knows
      (pp. 50-58)

      In discussing the problem of the criterion, I have distinguished two general questions. These are: “Whatdo we know?” and “How are we to decide in any particular casewhetherwe know?”² The first question could also be put by asking, “What is theextentof our knowledge?” and the second by asking, “What are thecriteriaof knowing?”

      I assumed it was reasonable to begin our investigations with an answer—or at least a provisional answer—to the first of these questions. It would also seem reasonable to apply a similar procedure to an investigation of what it is...

  5. Part II

    • Chapter 5 The Problem of the Criterion
      (pp. 61-75)

      “The problem of the criterion” seems to me to be one of the most important and one of the most difficult of all the problems of philosophy. I am tempted to say that one has not begun to philosophize until one has faced this problem and has recognized how unappealing, in the end, each of the possible solutions is. I have chosen this problem as my topic for the Aquinas Lecture because what first set me to thinking about it (and I remain obsessed by it) were two treatises of twentieth century scholastic philosophy. I refer first to P. Coffey’s...

    • Chapter 6 The Foundation of Empirical Statements
      (pp. 76-85)

      I shall suggest answers to the following questions which were among those raised in the original prospectus of the Warsaw Colloquy:

      It seems to belong to the very content of a scientific statement that it is one which is founded, justified, or valid(ein begründeter Satz),and a suggestion that there are scientific statements that are unfounded, gratuitous conjectures seems to imply a contradiction. Yet some methodologists of inductive sciences maintain that neither their basic statements nor their general laws have any foundation (Begründung).

      What is the object of foundation (justification, validation, legitimization)? Is it the statement itself or possibly...

    • Chapter 7 Verstehen: The Epistemological Question
      (pp. 86-94)

      By “the doctrine ofVerstehen,” I shall mean the thesis according to which a certain type of apprehension—sometimes called “Verstehen,” sometimes called “intuitive understanding”—is essential to our knowledge of other minds. I shall try to formulate, as clearly as I can, what the problem is that the doctrine is intended to solve; then I shall try to say just what it is that the doctrine is intended to be; and I shall conclude that some form of the doctrine is true.

      For some years now philosophers have refused to recognize the problems of the theory of knowledge. But...

    • Chapter 8 What is a Transcendental Argument?
      (pp. 95-99)

      If we are to be faithful to the use that the expression “transcendental argument” has come to have in recent philosophy, we may follow one or the other of two different procedures in attempting to formulate a definition. (a) We could consider certain arguments that have been called “transcendental” and we could try to state what is common and peculiar to these arguments. Then we could discuss the question whether transcendental arguments, as defined, are valid. Or (b) we could try to characterize transcendental arguments ideally as a type of valid argument that Kant and others may have thought they...

    • Chapter 9 The Paradox of Analysis: A Solution
      (pp. 100-106)
      Roderick M. Chisholm and Richard Potter

      We present an intentionally oriented theory of properties and show how this theory may solve what has been called “the paradox of anaysis.” This so-called “paradox” is not primarily a problem about language, as is commonly thought, but is rather a problem about certain intentional attitudes and the objects of those attitudes.

      The problem concerns those definitions that are intended to be “philosophical analyses of concepts.” The definiens, or analysans, is intended to be “an analysis of” the definiendum, or analysandum. (Of course, not every philosophical definition is thus intended as an analysis. Some are simply notational abbreviations. Others are...

  6. Part III

    • Chapter 10 Theory of Knowledge in America
      (pp. 109-194)

      Most of the problems and issues constituting the “theory of knowledge” were discussed in detail by Plato and Aristotle and by the Greek skeptics. There is some justification, I am afraid, for saying that the subject has made very little progress in the past two thousand years. Perhaps it is unreasonable, therefore, to expect much to have happened within a thirty-year period in twentieth-century America.

      In the late 1920s and early 1930s—the beginning of the period with which this study is concerned—the principal emphasis in American epistemology was metaphysical or cosmological. The problem was that of the status...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 195-210)
  8. Index
    (pp. 211-216)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 217-217)