BASIC REASONS AND FIRST PHILOSOPHY: A COHERENTIST VIEW OF REASONS

Authors


  • Ted Poston is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Alabama. He works primarily in epistemology. His work has appeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophical Studies, and American Philosophical Quarterly. His current research focuses on the nature of coherence and its role in a theory of knowledge and in the justification of belief.

abstract

This paper develops and defends a coherentist account of reasons. I develop three core ideas for this defense: a distinction between basic reasons and noninferential justification, the plausibility of the neglected argument against first philosophy, and an emergent account of reasons. These three ideas form the backbone for a credible coherentist view of reasons. I work toward this account by formulating and explaining the basic reasons dilemma. This dilemma reveals a wavering attitude that coherentists have had toward basic reasons. More importantly, the basic reasons dilemma focuses our attention on the central problems that afflict coherentist views of basic beliefs. By reflecting on the basic reasons dilemma, I formulate three desiderata that any viable coherentist account of basic beliefs must satisfy. I argue that the account on offer satisfies these desiderata.

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