Some Notes on the Possibility of Foundationalist Justification

Sanford C. Goldberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


In a good deal of his work on epistemic justification and the regress problem, Peter Klein has argued that foundationalist replies cannot work, as they suffer from an in-principle inability to reply to the regress problem. In this chapter, I argue that his argument begs the question. To do so, I do not argue that foundationalism is true; only that there are versions which, on some arguable (but not uncontroversial) assumptions, would constitute an adequate response to the regress problem. The conclusion will be that if foundationalist replies are unacceptable, it is not because they can’t respond to the problem, as Klein alleges. The significance of my argument lies in its meta-epistemological orientation: I will be arguing for the possibility that there is a kind of doxastic (epistemic) responsibility that is not a matter of having adequate reasons. If this claim is plausible, it opens up the prospects for a certain kind of (reliabilist and socially-oriented) foundationalism. The irony should not be lost on us: externalist accounts of justification are standardly thought to run afoul of considerations of epistemic responsibility, whereas I will be suggesting that they are a core part of our best hope to be able to make sense of epistemic responsibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSynthese Library
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameSynthese Library
ISSN (Print)0166-6991
ISSN (Electronic)2542-8292


  • Epistemic responsibility
  • Epistemology
  • Externalist epistemology
  • Foundationalism
  • Foundationalist justification
  • Klein
  • Regress problem
  • Reliabilist foundationalism
  • Structure of justification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • History
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Logic


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