Quine propagated forward an approach to epistemology wherein there was no need of any sort of justification "beyond observation and the hypothetico-deductive method" (Quine 1981).

Quine is going after a foundationalist view of knowledge acquisition then, wherein one can attain knowledge only in a context of possessing some prior, more certain knowledge.

But while any anti-foundationalist might agree with him here, they might not agree with Quine that there is no certain knowledge period.

That is to say, there seems to be a gap between admitting that all knowledge is based on experience, or "observation and the hypothetico-deductive method", and admitting that all knowledge is uncertain.

How does Quine effectively cross that gap?

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    @RamTobolski I think there is a gap insofar as an account of 'knowledge acquisition' is of a different category than an account of 'what knowledge consists in'. Quine is very concerned with methodology about knowledge, but I see less effort put forward to questions about the criterion of what qualifies as knowledge to begin with. Quine himself seemed to acknowledge purposely avoiding offering any sort of stated criterion. – Mos Jul 29 '16 at 22:08
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    For example, a reductionist materialist answering how we come to know will include a set of various material facts each considered under the aspect of how they culminate in whatever material fact is meant to be our knowledge, whereas the reductionist will give only this last material fact in answer to the question of what our knowledge is specifically. This is but one example of how each account is different. In any case the two are distinct to begin with by the distinct questions they are concerned with. – Mos Jul 29 '16 at 22:24
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    Even if the answer is the same to both questions, that they are different questions should reveal to us that we cannot assume an account of the methodology of a thing is the same as answering ehat the thing is itself, unless we make that assumption beforehand – Mos Jul 29 '16 at 22:30
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    @mobileink No. Aristotelian empiricists would contend that the answer lies in 'abstraction', that the experiences we have are not in themselves void of an essence or intellibility since the world is intelligible. It is the opposite of the Kantian's middle way; instead of saying the order of the world consists in the mind, the Aristotelian says it consists in the uniformity of the world itself, there to be understood by a mind which has the ability to be intelligent. – Mos Aug 1 '16 at 0:26
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    But that is only one example of how one might provide an empiricist based account of how necesarry truths might come to be known. In any case, the point still seems to hold that prima facie points made about knowledge acquisition do not lead directly to conclusions about knowledge simpliciter without further qualification. That we cannot provide an account of how we come to know something in some regard does not mean we do not know said something in said regard. – Mos Aug 1 '16 at 0:48

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