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(2001) The politics of postmodernity, Dordrecht, Springer.

Philosophy without foundations

Gary Brent Madison

pp. 69-100

The issue of foundationalism is currently the subject of a great deal of discussion in philosophical circles. In particular, the stance taken by a number of "antifoundationalists" continues to provoke strong opposition. Richard Rorty and Jacques Derrida are cases in point. When one pauses for a moment to reflect on this state of affairs, however, there is something rather curious about it. Surely, one is inclined to think, the issue of foundationalism is, in a sense, a dead issue. After all, who would seriously want any longer to hold up Descartes as a model for philosophical thinking? Is there still anyone who seriously believes that by means of philosophical speculation it is possible to discover a cosmic Archimedean point, an absolute foundation, a fundamentum inconcussum, on which all of our epistemic endeavors could be definitively "grounded"? Does anyone even believe that an absolute, unimpeachable grounding is necessary—and that, accordingly, it is a worthwhile goal for philosophy? The empirical sciences have long since renounced any such metaphysical quest for absolute, apodictic certainty— and they are none the worse off for having done so. So why should "anti foundationalism" provoke such widespread opposition?

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-0750-4_4

Full citation:

Madison, G.B. (2001). Philosophy without foundations, in The politics of postmodernity, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 69-100.

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