The role of coherence in epistemic justification

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (1):90 – 106 (2001)
Abstract
Among many reasons for which contemporary philosophers take coherentism in epistemology seriously, the most important is probably the perceived inadequacy of alternative accounts, most notably misgivings about foundationalism. But coherentism also receives straightforward support from cases in which beliefs are apparently justified by their coherence. From the perspective of those against coherentism, this means that an explanation is needed as to why in these cases coherence apparently justifies beliefs. Curiously, this task has not been carried out in a serious way in the anti-coherentist literature although there is no scarcity of objections to coherentism. The traditional charge has been that justification by coherence is circular. More recently the isolation problem allegedly reveals that coherentism justifies beliefs that should not be justified. Questions have also been raised with respect to the basing relation and feasibility.1 However, these objections do not explain why some beliefs appear to be justified by their coherence. This paper fills this gap in the anti-coherentist literature by offering a noncoherentist account of justification by coherence. The paper proceeds as follows. Section I delineates the framework of discussion and develops some conceptual tools needed in later analyses. Section II argues that there are genuine cases of an increase in existing empirical justification by coherence, but that it does not require coherence to generate additional justification—coherence serves as a channel of justification among beliefs, which is no more problematic than channeling of justification from basic to derived beliefs in foundationalism. Section III makes a stronger case for justification by coherence, where each of the coherent beliefs has no independent empirical justification; but Section IV argues that even in these cases coherence need not generate justification—coherence licenses the channeling of justification from outside sources..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,346
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

34 ( #48,875 of 1,096,662 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #20,403 of 1,096,662 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.