The dialectics of infinitism and coherentism: inferential justification versus holism and coherence

Synthese 191 (4):701-723 (2014)

Abstract
This paper formally explores the common ground between mild versions of epistemological coherentism and infinitism; it proposes—and argues for—a hybrid, coherentist–infinitist account of epistemic justification. First, the epistemological regress argument and its relation to the classical taxonomy regarding epistemic justification—of foundationalism, infinitism and coherentism—is reviewed. We then recall recent results proving that an influential argument against infinite regresses of justification, which alleges their incoherence on account of probabilistic inconsistency, cannot be maintained. Furthermore, we prove that the Principle of Inferential Justification has rather unwelcome consequences—formally resembling the Sorites paradox—as soon as it is iterated and combined with a natural Bayesian perspective on probabilistic inferences. We conclude that strong versions of foundationalism and infinitism should be abandoned. Positively, we provide a rough sketch for a graded formal coherence notion, according to which infinite regresses of epistemic justification will often have more than a minimal degree of coherence
Keywords Epistemic justification  Coherentism (epistemology)  Infinitism (epistemology)  Foundationalism (epistemology)   Principle of Inferential Justification  Coherence
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-013-0273-5
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References found in this work BETA

Bayesian Epistemology.Luc Bovens & Stephan Hartmann - 2003 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Science, Perception and Reality.Wilfrid Sellars - 1963 - New York: Humanities Press.
Belief and the Will.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2010 - In Antony Eagle (ed.), Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 235-256.
Logical Foundations of Probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago]University of Chicago Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

A Graded Bayesian Coherence Notion.Frederik Herzberg - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (4):843-869.

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