Inconsistency: The coherence theorist’s nemesis?

Grazer Philosophische Studien 40 (1):113-130 (1991)


The relationship between inconsistency and Lehrerian coherence is scrutinized. Like most coherence theorists of epistemic justification, Lehrer contends that consistency is necessary for coherence. Despite this contention, minimally inconsistent belief-sets prove coherent and rationally acceptable on Lehrer's account of coherence. Lehrer is left with the following dilemma: If consistency is necessary for coherence, then (i) he must revise his account of coherence accordingly and, more importantly, (ii) such coherence is nof necessary for justification, since intuitively we are justified in accepting such minimally inconsistent belief-sets. If, on the other hand, minimally inconsistent acceptance systems can be coherent, then to prevent pairwise inconsistent statements form readily cohering with such systems, Lehrer must deny that rational acceptance is closed under deduction.

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