Historicism and Justification. Alasdair MacIntyre’s Historicist Conception of Justification

  1. Maksymilian Roszyk

Abstract

 

In this paper I argue that MacIntyre’s historicism involves a conception concerning the nature of justification, formulated in opposition to ahistorical foundationalism. According to foundationalism justification is a matter of an appeal to certain universal and timeless principles, constituting the basis of all claims to knowledge. The merit of MacIntyre’s historicism is that it enables one to answer two difficulties, insuperable to foundationalism. First, it enables to explain why some basic statements are being treated as justified even though there exist, in the same area, contending sets of basic statements: justified basic statements are those which emerge from the history of a given tradition of enquiry as incontestable. Secondly, it allows to explain how we can rationally claim that a certain set of statements is rationally better than others even though they are mutually incommensurable: certain set of statements is better than others, and therefore justified, if and only if it can resolve difficulties insuperable to its rivals and explain both successes and defeats of its rivals.

 

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Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia

Suplementary Volume, English Edition 2012

Pages from 203 to 217

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