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Article

Volume 46 • Number 4

October 2009



 

 

Reasons, Regresses, and Tragedy: The Epistemic Regress Problem and the Problem of the Criterion


by Andrew D. Cling


The epistemic regress problem is about the possibility of having beliefs that are based on evidence. The problem of the criterion is about the possibility of having beliefs that are based on general standards for distinguishing what is true from what is false. These problems are similar. Each is constituted by a set of propositions about epistemically valuable relational properties—being supported by evidence and being authorized by a criterion of truth—that are individually plausible but jointly inconsistent, a paradox. The propositions that constitute one problem have the same forms as the propositions that constitute the other. In particular, each problem turns on the claim that a belief can have a valuable relational property only by means of an endless regress and that this requirement cannot be satisfied. Finally, since evidence and criteria are kinds of reasons, each problem is about the possibility of having beliefs that are based on reasons.


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ISSN: 2152-1123