Infinitism


Infinitism

Infinitism is the view that knowledge may be justified by an infinite chain of reasons. It belongs to epistemology, the branch of philosophy that treats of the possibility, nature, and means of knowledge.

Epistemological infinitism

Knowledge is widely accepted as meaning justified belief. Traditional theories of justification (foundationalism and coherentism) and indeed most philosophers consider an infinite regress not to be a valid justification. In their view, if "A" is justified by "B", "B" by "C", and so forth, then either (a) the chain must end with a link that requires no independent justification (a foundation), or (b) the chain must come around in a circle in some finite number of steps (the belief may be justified by its coherence) or (c) our beliefs must not be justified after all (as skeptics believe).

Infinitism, the view for example of Peter D. Klein, challenges this minimal consensus, referring back to work of Paul Moser (1984) and John Post (1987). In this view, justifications have an essentially infinite, non-repeating structure.

External links

* [http://philosophy.rutgers.edu/FACSTAFF/BIOS/klein.html Prof. Klein's home page] (Includes references to his papers on infinitism.)
* [http://chss2.montclair.edu/prdept/HK.htm Human Knowledge and the Infinite Regress of Reasons] Prof. Klein's paper in "Philosophical Perspectives, 13", J. Tomberlin (ed.), 1999, discussing both the validity and drawbacks of infinitism.

ee also

* Fallibilism
* Perspectivism
* Relativism


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