Historically, mainstream philosophy tends to like to appeal to foundations-fundamental assumptions that constitute a stepping-off point for further philosophizing. These assumptions cannot be proven; they are themselves the basis for proof. Anti-foundationalism (the “ism” is misleading since this is a tendency that pops up sporadically and unpredictably throughout philosophy, and which would be difficult or impossible to define systematically) insists the assumptions which underlgird philosophical inquiry be recognized as assumptions and not as immutable truths. Anti-foundationalist critique can take logical form (Nagarjuna presents a logical critique of metaphysical foundationalism, for example), historical form (Foucault’s historical analysis of how rational truth has evolved in Western society has as one of its many consequences the effect of de-centering that truth as the basis of philosophizing), psychological form (One might say that James’s analysis of truth is a pursuit of the psychology of truth-how truth functions in the day-to-day cognitive activities of individual humans and groups thereof, and Nietzsche’s descriptive approaches to truth also have something of the psychological about them), or can be an outgrowth of more general skepticisms, and sometimes are derived from limits found within prior philosophies (i.e., a proper critique (Quine, say), etc.
The primary problem confronting anti-foundationlists is how to proceed with philosophy at all in the absence of foundational truth. A leading solution (and my favorite) is pragmatism—a reframing of philosophical problems which prefers to make epistemological and moral evaluations based on the consequences of the implementation of ideas rather than on the “intrinsic” logic or rationality of those ideas.

  • Nietzsche
  • [Beyond Good and Evil]
  • Quine
    • “[Two Dogmas of Empiricism]”
  • James
    • Pragmatism
  • [Dewey]
    • Experience and Nature
    • [The Quest for Certainty]
  • Foucault
    • “Truth and Power”
      h2. See also:
  • Pragmatism
  • Chris
  • Nick

    TODO: add Weil quote
    TODO: gentrify