David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 74 (1):28-47 (2007)
What is the relation between coherence and truth? This paper rejects numerous answers to this question, including the following: truth is coherence; coherence is irrelevant to truth; coherence always leads to truth; coherence leads to probability, which leads to truth. I will argue that coherence of the right kind leads to at least approximate truth. The right kind is explanatory coherence, where explanation consists in describing mechanisms. We can judge that a scientific theory is progressively approximating the truth if it is increasing its explanatory coherence in two key respects: broadening by explaining more phenomena and deepening by investigating layers of mechanisms. I sketch an explanation of why deepening is a good epistemic strategy and discuss the prospect of deepening knowledge in the social sciences and everyday life.
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Citations of this work BETA
Shelby D. Hunt (2011). Theory Status, Inductive Realism, and Approximate Truth: No Miracles, No Charades. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):159 - 178.
Adolfas Mackonis (2013). Inference to the Best Explanation, Coherence and Other Explanatory Virtues. Synthese 190 (6):975-995.
Paul Thagard (2012). Coherence: The Price is Right. Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):42-49.
Amalia Amaya (2013). Coherence, Evidence, and Legal Proof. Legal Theory 19 (1):1-43.
Dunja Šešelja & Christian Straßer (2013). Abstract Argumentation and Explanation Applied to Scientific Debates. Synthese 190 (12):2195-2217.
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