Grazer Philosophische Studien

Volume 60, 2000

Matthias Steup
Pages 75-98

Unrestricted Foundationalism and the Sellarsian Dilemma

I propose a version of foundationaUsm with the following distinctive features. First, it includes in the class of basic beliefs ordinary beliefs about physical objects. This makes it unrestricted. Second, it assigns the role of ultimate justifiers to A-states: states of being appeared to in various ways. Such states have propositional content, and are justifiers if they are presumptively reliable. The beliefs A-states justify are basic if they are non-inferential. In the last three sections of the paper, I defend this version of foundationalism against Sellars's famous anti-foundationalist dilemma, according to which sense-experiential states can't be justifiers if they lack propositional content, and can't terminate the justificatory regress if they have propositional content. I argue that the latter of these two claims is false. A-states can play the role of justifiers because they have propositional content, and they can terminate the justificatory regress because they themselves are capable of neither being true or false, nor being justified or unjustified.