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Classical Foundationalism

How Do We Know:

1.The Bible says we can know what good and evil are (Genesis 3:22), We can know that the Bible is God Breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), that Jesus is the son of God (1 John 5:20), that Christians are going to heaven (Romans 10:9), and that man was made in the Image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). None of these propositions would escape the skeptical challenge, because they are all come from a book that can’t be justified to a skeptic. One can justify the existence of a god, but one can not justify that that god is God, in a skeptical approach.

2.Rationalism and empiricism are both views of how people gain knowledge. Rationalism is the view that knowledge comes from reason and what makes sense. While empiricism is the view that knowledge is gained by experiences.

3. There are 4 levels of certainty, 3, 2, 1, and 0. 3 is certainty without a doubt and 2 is certainty without reasonable doubt. 3 and 2 are the levels that required for knowledge because level 1 is based off of assumption and 0 is uncertainty. Though 2 has some doubt it’s not reasonable enough to make someone question what they know.

4.The components of the traditional Justified true belief account is, a person believes in something, if that something is true then that person is justified in believing that something. The Gettier-type challenge is successful in it’s challenge because it does point out that even if the belief is true it doesn’t mean that the reason for believing it is correct.

5.Knowledge is not a sincerely held belief because to a persons knowledge they can think they know something, but to others their knowledge is false. For example a kid believing in Santa Clause.

6.According to classical foundationalism the three basic beliefs are self evident beliefs, incorrigible beliefs and beliefs evident to the sense. Strong foundationalism is the a correct understanding of knowledge because even though many people use other ways of understanding knowledge one does have to use some sort of foundation from foundationalism to decided what beliefs are true.

7.I do not see any problem with modest foundationalism because it is not limited to those beliefs that count as properly basic. Modest foundationalism does accept the three basic beliefs of its classical cousin, but because it is not limited to those three one can have a larger set of beliefs.

8.The universality of sin can be justified in foundationalism because sin can be justified with evidence to the senses, when someone sin’s and others know about it they can see how others disapprove of it and then they know they have done something wrong, or sinned. Sin can also be justified with coherentism because if one believes in God then their belief in God justifies the belief in a moral code. Sin can also be justified with contextualism because sin is an act against divine law and when someone sins they go against divine law therefore it is justifying sin.

9.Classical foundationalism uses the 3 properly basic beliefs to support beliefs. And only those properly basic beliefs make it a justified belief according to classical foundationalism. Modest foundationalism is based off of classical foundationalism, but less conservative with what is consider a probably basic belief. It uses basic beliefs to build on to that belief but is not limited to only 3 basic beliefs. Coherentism goes along with the Coherent theory of truth. And like that theory of truth Coherentism is based on what makes sense, one belief a person has is supported by the other beliefs they hold. Contextualism says that beliefs are justified by other beliefs based on the context of the society. For example People don’t find it acceptable to get married at 16 in the U.S., but in the past eras it was acceptable.

Long Answered Question

Skeptics insist that one can not say they know something unless they are absolutely certain that it is true and so many beliefs are put through the skeptical challenge. The three steps to the skeptical challenge is this “1) If there is a skeptical hypothesis for some belief p of mine then I do not know p. 2) There is a skeptical hypothesis for p. 3) Therefore I do not know p.”(Cowan and Spiegel, 51). Here is an example.

If there is a skeptical hypothesis for some belief of mine, and lets say my belief is my walls are made of brick, then I do not know if the walls are actually made of brick. Turns out there is a skeptical hypothesis for my walls being my out of brick, because according to a skeptic my senses could be tricking me into thinking the wall is made of brick. Therefore, I do not know if my walls are made of brick.

In the example there was a simple belief about what the wall were made out of, brick, and if that belief were challenged then that person would not know if the walls were made out of brick or not. In fact according to the skeptic the walls might not even be there! The skeptic could ask how does one know it’s not all an allusion?

Skeptics believe that knowledge is either limited or even impossible to have. A skeptic would say that one could only know something for sure if they’re absolutely certain about it and with that, they point out that humans can’t be certain about much of anything, therefore can’t know anything.

There are 4 levels of certainty, level 3 being beyond any doubt, 2 beyond reasonable doubt, 1 more likely than not, and 0 there is no certainty at all. Skeptics believe that in order to say one knows something then their certainty has to be at a level 3. So understanding that skeptics believe that in order to say one knows some thing they have to be at a level three, this explains why it is so important for a skeptic to insist on certainty .

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