on January 14, 1999
Laurence BonJour offers here a powerful critique of "foundationalism" and a careful, cogent presentation of a "coherentist" account of justification.
His thesis is weaker than Brand Blanshard's; BonJour does not wish to defend a coherentist account of truth itself, nor a version of coherentism in which every fact is entailed by literally _every_ other.
In one important sense this is a strength rather than a weakness; it would be a shame if coherentism were simply _identified_ with its strongest version, for coherentism itself could then be summarily dismissed if its "strong" form failed.
On the other hand, in my own view BonJour devotes insufficient attention to the "strong" form, which I find more defensible than he does at least as a theoretical ideal. (He is right, though, that Blanshard's own account of "strong" coherentism requires a more detailed defense than Blanshard himself provided.)
At any rate, BonJour's work belongs on the shortlist of top philosophical works in the rationalist camp. Together with his _In Defense of Pure Reason_, it is required reading for anyone interested in understanding and defending the role of reason in philosophy and elsewhere.