The Structure of Empirical Knowledge

The Structure of Empirical Knowledge

by LBonjour (Author)


How must our knowledge be systematically organized in order to justify our beliefs? There are two options--the solid securing of the ancient foundationalist pyramid or the risky adventure of the new coherentist raft. For the foundationalist like Descartes each piece of knowledge can be stacked to build a pyramid. Not so, argues BonJour. What looks like a pyramid is in fact a dead end, a blind alley. Better by far to choose the raft.

Here BonJour sets out the most extensive antifoundationalist argument yet developed. The first part of the book offers a systematic exposition of foundationalist views and formulates a general argument to show that no variety of foundationalism provides an acceptable account of empirical justification. In the second part he explores a coherence theory of empirical knowledge and argues that a defensible theory must incorporate an adequate conception of observation. The book concludes with an account of the correspondence theory of empirical truth and an argument that systems of empirical belief which satisfy the coherentist standard of justification are also likely to be true.



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More Information

Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Edition: New edition
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Published: 01 Jul 1988

ISBN 10: 0674843819
ISBN 13: 9780674843813

Media Reviews
The Structure of Empirical Knowledge is important as a very lucid and perceptive treatment of the coherence/foundations controversy. Thorough and careful, it is also well conceived and well written and does not get lost in details. It should be of interest to philosophers of every persuasion.--Ernest Sosa, Brown University