"Anchors on Neurath’s Boat: Non-Foundationalist Epistemic Entitlements"

Jonathan Lopez (University of British Columbia)
First published 8 Jan. 2014

Recent developments in epistemology have attempted to revive the foundationalist picture of knowledge with the notion of epistemic entitlement. Essentially, epistemic entitlement is the idea that we are entitled to some beliefs, that is, we do not have to earn warrant in order to believe them, they come to us for free. Wright explicitly attempts to argue that beliefs we are entitled to, cornerstone propositions, can serve as foundations for our knowledge. A related account of epistemic entitlement, although not with the explicit aim of finding foundations, is also considered. I argue that Wright is successful on pragmatic grounds rather than the more salient and desired epistemic grounds. Falling short of his goals, Wright’s notion of epistemic entitlement can be recast into a non-foundationalist picture. The prospect of applying Wright’s idea of epistemic entitlement to Quine’s web of belief is explored.

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