more from Agrippa

Single Idea 8850

[catalogued under 13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 2. Justification Challenges / a. Agrippa's trilemma]

Full Idea

Agrippa's Trilemma offers three possible outcomes for a regress of justification: the chain goes on for ever (infinite); or the chain stops at an unjustified proposition (arbitrary); or the chain eventually includes the original proposition (circular).

Gist of Idea

Agrippa's Trilemma: justification is infinite, or ends arbitrarily, or is circular


report of Agrippa (fragments/reports [c.60], 2) by Michael Williams - Without Immediate Justification 2

Book Reference

'Contemporary Debates in Epistemology', ed/tr. Steup,M/Sosa,E [Blackwell 2005], p.205

A Reaction

This summarises Ideas 1911, 1913 and 1914. Agrippa's Trilemma is now a standard starting point for modern discussions of foundations. Personally I reject 2, and am torn between 1 (+ social consensus) and 3 (with a benign, coherent circle).

Related Ideas

Idea 1911 Even if all known nations agree on a practice, there may be unknown nations which disagree [Sext.Empiricus]

Idea 1913 Is virtue taught, or achieved by practice, or a natural aptitude, or what? [Plato]