It is not the task of this essay to offer a total refutation of the Skeptics' claim, rather to analyze arguments which look at the justification for our beliefs. Two such arguments, which have traditionally been in contest with one another, are Foundationalism and Coherentism. The former claims that there are basic, self-evident beliefs which act as a foundation upon which all other beliefs are built. The latter asserts that all beliefs are justified if and only if they cohere with one another. There are obvious problems with these two modes of thinking, which will form the primary investigation of this essay. A possible solution, as offered by Haack, lies somewhere in the middle and is understandably termed "Foundherentism". The heart of this essay will be in the exploration of Haack's reasoning, but first, a look at the two competing theories from which it stems.
Empirical Foundationalism claims that sense experiences offer the platform upon which we are able to place all other beliefs. They need no further justification and all other beliefs can ultimately be reduced to these basic beliefs. There is a clear initial problem with Foundationalism, in that it appears to rely on an essentially dogmatic approach. It does not seem unreasonable to ask, for example, how someone knows that it is Monday today. ...Show more