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PhilosophyPart of Humanities

Justification - Descartes

The 17th century philosopher René Descartes was a foundationalist.

For Descartes, foundational beliefs have to be absolutely certain or indubitable. But this seems to lead to a radical scepticism that many want to avoid: after all, few if any of our ordinary beliefs will turn out to be justified if we start only with indubitable beliefs.

What do you conclude from this?

1. This observation might convince you that foundationalism is simply false.

2. Alternatively, you might be willing to become a radical sceptic.

3. Finally, you might follow many contemporary philosophers and adopt a more liberal version of foundationalism, allowing some beliefs that aren’t indubitable to be foundations for all others.

Answer 1Answer 2Answer 3
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