Coherence and Common Causes: Against Relevance-Sensitive Measures of Coherence

Michael Schippers
University of Oldenburg
Changing weather conditions and barometer changes usually coincide. Accordingly, the propositions that my barometer falls and that the weather conditions deteriorate are quite coherent—especially under the assumption that there is a drop in atmospheric pressure. Nevertheless, scenarios like these involving common causes turn out to be highly problematic for a prominent class of probabilistic coherence measures, namely, those explicating coherence based on the idea of relevance-sensitivity. In this article, we show that none of these measures accords with the intuition that in the light of a common cause, two propositions referring to the cause’s effects should turn out to be coherent. This result casts doubts on the view that these measures can be considered proper explications of the concept of coherence. 1Introduction2Relevance-Sensitive Coherence Measures3Common Causes, Screening-off, and Coherence4Discussion 4.1Multiple explications of coherence4.2Conditionalization versus set expansion5Conclusion
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axx003
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Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1982 - Critica 14 (41):87-93.
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.David Hume - 1955 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press. pp. 112.

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