A Direct Realist and Developmental Account

Stephen Ronald Craig Hicks

Department of Philosophy


Rockford College


5050 East State Street


Rockford, Illinois 61108

















Stephen R.C. Hicks




I present a type of foundationalism that is new in two significant ways. 

First, most foundationalists hold that because of perceptual relativity, illusions, and the standard skepti­cal arguments, external world propositions can be justified only indirectly by means of subjective states or proposi­tions.  Thus most foundationalists follow the traditional representationalist pattern -- albeit in sophisticated forms -- of attempting to argue their way to the external world.  I argue that skepticism is wrong in principle and so can be set aside at the outset; and I argue that percep­tual illusions and relativity are fully compatible with perceptual direct realism.  This allows me to advance a nonrepresentationalist account of justification based upon direct realism.  This also means that I explicitly link my theory of justification to a theory of perception, rather than attempting (as do virtually all current foundational­ists) to give a theory of justification while trying not to make any commitments to a theory of perception.

Second, antifoundationalists have argued that founda­tionalism fails because the perceptual given is either theory-laden, inferentially constructed, or noncognitive.  Antifoundationalists have argued further that contextual dimensions of justification are incompatible with hierar­chical dimensions of justification.  (Virtually all current foundationalists also accept the idea that contextuality and hierarchy are at odds with each other.)  I argue against each of these claims, and present a developmental account of foundationalism that allows for revisions while preserving the necessary hierarchical justificatory rela­tionships ultimately grounded in perceptual states.  To accomplish this, I reject traditional foundationalism's insistence upon the incorrigibility of basic propositions.  Then I argue that conceptual or logical revisions can force a reconstruction or modification of a justificatory hierarchy without severing that hierarchy's connection to perceptual states.

Thus, I defend a direct realist and developmental account of foundationalism.  


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