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epeck01's picture

In my small discussion

In my small discussion group, we spent a lot of time attempting to define "foundationalism."  The problem seems to be that the popular view of "foundationalism" is religious foundationalism - beliefs grounded on a central religious idea.  However, in the class we are defining the term (to my understanding - I am still unsure of what the term means) to mean holding beliefs that are grounded in anything.  In this case, I do not understand how anyone could be a non-foundationalist.  It seems that everyone has some belief and does not question everything.  In this case, anything that we would define as "non-foundationalist" is something that most people would not be interested in - anything that has no grounding usually is not useful or even possible.  The problem I find in our discussions on foundationalism versus non-foundationalism is that foundationalism is treated as such a dirty word (even reffered to jokingly as "the f-word" in my section).  This treatment of the term seems to me to be a foundationalist belief in the irrationality of foundationalism (although apparently rationalism can be something to base beliefs on and therefore one can have their foundationalist foundations in rationalism) versus the rationality and higher value of non-foundational thinking.  As we found out in my small discussion group, this term is extremely problematic (as shown by my cyclical and probably nonsensical argument above).  Maybe we should be using foundationalism as "fundamentalism" (or at least the common use) and define it by saying that foundationalism is having beliefs founded in a central idea that cannot be proved using scientific means. 


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