Fading Foundations

Probability and the Regress Problem
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David Atkinson
545 g
245x167x22 mm
383, Synthese Library
This is an Open Access publication and the content is freely downloadable Sets out a potentially transformative, probabilistic approach to infinite regresses
1. The Regress Problem 2. Epistemic Justification 3. The Probabilistic Regress 4. Fading Foundations and the Emergence of Justification 5. Finite Minds 6. Conceptual Objections 7. Higher-Order Probabilities 8. Loops and Networks
This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license. This book addresses the age-old problem of infinite regresses in epistemology. How can we ever come to know something if knowing requires having good reasons, and reasons can only be good if they are backed by good reasons in turn? The problem has puzzled philosophers ever since antiquity, giving rise to what is often called Agrippa's Trilemma. The current volume approaches the old problem in a provocative and thoroughly contemporary way. Taking seriously the idea that good reasons are typically probabilistic in character, it develops and defends a new solution that challenges venerable philosophical intuitions and explains why they were mistakenly held. Key to the new solution is the phenomenon of fading foundations, according to which distant reasons are less important than those that are nearby. The phenomenon takes the sting out of Agrippa's Trilemma; moreover, since the theory that describes it is general and abstract, it is readily applicable outside epistemology, notably to debates on infinite regresses in metaphysics. The book is a potential game-changer and a must for any advanced student or researcher in the field.

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