From Nicholas Wolsterstorff, Justice: Rights and Wrongs. Note that I am providing this for interest and/or comments, not because I endorse it, though there is clearly, I think, something to it:
Seldom anymore does the analytic philosopher assume that he is obligated qua philosopher to ground rationally what he says in certitudes; analytic philosophy as a whole is on the way to becoming "Anselmian." ... The philosopher, approaching the practice of philosophy from his life in the everyday, finds himself believing many things, both large and small. Perhaps he finds himself believing in physicalism. He then regards the challenge facing him as a philosopher not to be that of discarding all those convictions unless he can rationally ground them in certitudes; the challenge facing him is that of working out the nature and implications of his physicalist convictions in various areas of thought, doing so in such a way as to cope not only with the complications in his own mind but with the objections lodged against this line of thought by others. In principle these objections might prove so powerful that he gives up his physicalism. In place of the old foundationalist picture, the picture of an academic enterprise now being taken for granted by philosophers in the analytic tradition is what I call dialogic pluralism. The academic enterprise is a dialogue among persons of different perspectives. The goal of the enterprise remains to achieve agreement.
First, let me just note that the continual use of masculine pronouns is unfortunate. But having noted it, I'll pass over it.
I'll have some more to say about Wolterstorff over the next couple of days, but let me repeat that the passage has some force. It's not as if the man's a fool. On the other hand, there's something disappointing about it, and also something unnecessarily conservative: I just "find" myself with certain beliefs (perhaps, as in Wolsterstorff's case, religious beliefs), so I try to do philosophy in a way that, in the first instance at least, tries to sort out the ramifications of those beliefs. So it seems to go. To Wolterstorff's credit, he thinks that objections to my starting beliefs may, in principle, lead me to revise them, but note that my aim is not to interrogate my starting beliefs sceptically or ruthlessly, or even with any vigour. Objections will occur to me, and I'll hear them from others in the philosophical enterprise, but my goal is to work out a view of the world based on whatever starting point I happen to have.
The admitted force of this approach is that foundationalist enterprises have been unsuccessful over the past four centuries, and there is little prospect of agreement on what the foundations even are or on how they could ever be established in the face of disagreement (after all, the things to be established include the methods by which we establish such things).
Nonetheless, I doubt that philosophy has yet become so tame, or that it should do so. Sure, we have to start somewhere, if only tacitly. For example, it's hard to see how we'd get anywhere unless we assumed that it is legitimate to apply logical rules such as modus ponens; that the senses are, if not exactly reliable, at least sufficiently useful and open to correction to help us investigate the world; that our memories are, once again, not totally reliable, but not so wildly in error as to be useless. We may not be able to state in any exhaustive and convincing way what rock-bottom assumptions we wish to use, and the quest for foundations of this kind may well be frustrating. It has been to date.
Still, it seems a bit much, when doing philosophy, simply to start with whatever ideas we have been socialised into accepting, even though they may be quite remote from anything that looks even like a reasonable candidate for being foundational. There is a difference between taking a fairly pragmatic approach to foundations and giving a free pass, in the first instance, to whatever you find yourself believing, however unreliable may be the process by which you came to the beliefs, and however shaky may be your grounds for justifying them.
As so often with such issues, there's much to say, but I don't think Wolsterstorff can simply help himself to a whole heap of religious doctrine - as he does - simply because he "finds himself" believing it.
This is, I suppose, why I'll always be a sceptic about religions, moral codes, and the like. They contain claims that are truly remote from ordinary beliefs about physical reality or social reality, and I think that we should do philosophy with a consciousness that the onus is on us to establish them in ways that are generally acceptable to others - not to people who are gung-ho epistemological sceptics, but at least to people who don't find themselves with whatever religious and moral convictions we happen to have been socialised into. Some morality may be indispensable, of course, to avoid disaster ... but much of it may not be.
When we engage in philosophical reflection, we don't have to start with something as comprehensive as physicalism, just with ordinary knowledge of the physical and social worlds, some widely-accepted assumptions about such things as sense perception, memory, and logic, and some of the healthy scepticism that has provided the fuel for science. Poke around, see what you find if you bracket off your more specific system of disbelief ... if you have one. Maybe you'll be surprised.
I think that philosophy is still a much more penetrating and unsettling enterprise than Wolterstorff wants it to be, and from my viewpoint that's the good thing about it.