Probability and Coherence Justification

Southern Journal of Philosophy 35 (4):463-472 (1997)
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Abstract

In The Structure of Empirical Knowledge , Laurence BonJour argues that coherence among a set of empirical beliefs can provide justification for those beliefs, in the sense of rendering them likely to be true. He also repudiates all forms of foundationalism for empirical beliefs, including what he calls "weak foundationalism" (the weakest form of foundationalism he can find). In the following, I will argue that coherence cannot provide any justification for our beliefs in the manner BonJour suggests unless some form of foundational justification is assumed. In other words, the argument that BonJour gives in favor of the thesis that coherence provides a kind of justification succeeds if and only if some beliefs have (at least weak) foundational justification.

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Michael Huemer
University of Colorado, Boulder

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