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A Contextual Theory of Epistemic Justification

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A Contextual Theory of Epistemic Justification

Author: David Annis

(Pg. 248 Ð'- 254)


The Contextualism theory has many different factors associated with it that are overlooked by both the Foundationalism theory and the Coherentism theory. Contextualism is a good option to Foundationalism and Coherentism, because unlike the latter two, Contextualism focuses on the social natures and contextual parameters of justification.


Foundationalism Ð'- "The theory that every empirical statement which is justified ultimately must derive at least some of its justification from a special class of basic statements which have at least some degree of justification independent of the support such statements may derive from other statements."

Coherentism Ð'- "A statement is justified if and only if it coheres with a certain kind of system of statements."

Reasons: (Premises)

1. Issue Context Ð'- In order to properly examine an issue, we must be able to see what the issue being raised is about and how qualified the arguer is to be attempting to answer it. Also, it brings up the importance of the objector group. If the issue is of great importance, the objector group must be fully qualified to present real and obvious objections to the arguer.

2. There are no universal principles for justification, so the decisions must be measured differently in each community based on their beliefs and level of knowledge. This shows us both how much knowledge is possessed by the arguer and by the objection group.

- If we have a belief that S is equal to T, we cannot deny that under the assumption that at a later date we know that S is not equal to T.

3. "The Regress Argument" Ð'- The Regress argument is supported by many Foundationalists because it denies the Coherentism theory and it has a belief that there is a sequence of beliefs to finding justification.

- Contextualism believes that there is no set of reasons a person must have in order to possess

knowledge of something. This makes Contextualism more beneficial than Foundationalism in regards to the Regress Argument because even if someone who has no prior knowledge of a belief is reviewed by strict objectors, they can still be found to have a justified belief.


1. One must be able to prove why they are justified in believing something and not just meet the principles of justification.

2. One must be able to prove that the argument is not false otherwise it could lead to false beliefs.

3. The Contextualism theory



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