Wittgenstein on the Structure of Justification: Breaking New Epistemological Ground

Caraway, Carol (2003) Wittgenstein on the Structure of Justification: Breaking New Epistemological Ground. In: UNSPECIFIED Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, pp. 78-80.


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I shall investigate Wittgenstein's view of the structure of justification comparing it to Foundationalism, Holistic Coherentism, and Contextualism. Remarks in On Certainty (1969) appear to commit Wittgenstein to each of these theories, and scholars have attributed each theory to him. I argue that Wittgenstein's remarks fit neither these theories, nor a sort of combination theory. Wittgenstein breaks new epistemological ground. The issue of the structure of justification arises from the regress problem. An inferential belief gets its justification from other beliefs, producing a belief chain. This chain, or regress, either continues indefinitely or ends. If it continues indefinitely, then it either goes on forever (Infinitism) or circles back upon itself (Linear Coherentism)--two problematic positions I will not discuss. If the regress ends, it ends in beliefs that are directly or non-inferentially justified. The regress problem thus delineates three possible structures, and four possible theories, of justification: an infinite chain of beliefs (Infinitism), a circular chain of beliefs (Linear Coherentism), and a finite chain of beliefs (Foundationalism and Contextualism).

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Justification; Contextualism; Holistic Coherentism; Foundationalism; Moore, G.E.; Quine, W.v.O; Wittgenstein, L.
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Epistemologie, Wissenschaftstheorie, Naturphilosophie
Philosophie > Philosophische Journale, Kongresse, Vereinigungen > Wittgenstein Symposium Kirchberg, Pre-Proceedings > Kirchberg 2003
Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Sprachphilosophie
Depositing User: Stefan Köstenbauer
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2007
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2011 18:52
URI: http://sammelpunkt.philo.at/id/eprint/1525

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