International Journal of Arts and Humanities

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An Examination of Lawrence Bonjour’s Externalist Theories of Empirical Knowledge

Omotosho I.F



Accepted 19th December, 2015


In his essay “externalist theories of empirical knowledge,” Lawrence Bonjour argues that foundationalism cannot solve the epistemic regress problem because so called basic beliefs are not really basic. He argues that the very concept of justification is an obstacle to the idea of basic beliefs. He argues further that externalist theories cannot support a foundationalism that solves the regress problem. This is because they are ill equipped to do so. For Bounjour, externalist theories are false because they fail to give or provide sufficient conditions for justification. This paper examines Bounjour’s argument against foundationalism and the externalist response. The paper observes that rationality requires good reasons. However, the paper reveals that there is a difference between the status of justification and the activities of justifying.


Keywords: Foundationalism, Externalist theories, Epistemic justification.