David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 154 (1):73 - 95 (2007)
Coherentism in epistemology has long suffered from lack of formal and quantitative explication of the notion of coherence. One might hope that probabilistic accounts of coherence such as those proposed by Lewis, Shogenji, Olsson, Fitelson, and Bovens and Hartmann will finally help solve this problem. This paper shows, however, that those accounts have a serious common problem: the problem of belief individuation. The coherence degree that each of the accounts assigns to an information set (or the verdict it gives as to whether the set is coherent tout court) depends on how beliefs (or propositions) that represent the set are individuated. Indeed, logically equivalent belief sets that represent the same information set can be given drastically different degrees of coherence. This feature clashes with our natural and reasonable expectation that the coherence degree of a belief set does not change unless the believer adds essentially new information to the set or drops old information from it; or, to put it simply, that the believer cannot raise or lower the degree of coherence by purely logical reasoning. None of the accounts in question can adequately deal with coherence once logical inferences get into the picture. Toward the end of the paper, another notion of coherence that takes into account not only the contents but also the origins (or sources) of the relevant beliefs is considered. It is argued that this notion of coherence is of dubious significance, and that it does not help solve the problem of belief individuation.
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Logic Metaphysics Philosophy of Language|
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References found in this work BETA
Laurence BonJour (1985). The Structure of Empirical Knowledge. Harvard University Press.
Luc Bovens & Stephan Hartmann (2003). Bayesian Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Erik J. Olsson (2002). What is the Problem of Coherence and Truth? Journal of Philosophy 99 (5):246-272.
Tomoji Shogenji (1999). Is Coherence Truth Conducive? Analysis 59 (4):338–345.
Ken Akiba (2000). Shogenji's Probabilistic Measure of Coherence is Incoherent. Analysis 60 (4):356–359.
Citations of this work BETA
Michael Schippers (2014). Probabilistic Measures of Coherence: From Adequacy Constraints Towards Pluralism. Synthese 191 (16):3821-3845.
Jakob Koscholke (2016). Evaluating Test Cases for Probabilistic Measures of Coherence. Erkenntnis 81 (1):155-181.
Michael Schippers (2014). Coherence, Striking Agreement, and Reliability. Synthese 191 (15):3661-3684.
Michael Schippers & Gerhard Schurz (forthcoming). Genuine Coherence as Mutual Confirmation Between Content Elements. Studia Logica:1-31.
Jakob Koscholke & Michael Schippers (forthcoming). Against Relative Overlap Measures of Coherence. Synthese:1-10.
Similar books and articles
Erik J. Olsson (1999). Cohering With. Erkenntnis 50 (2-3):273 - 291.
Branden Fitelson (2003). A Probabilistic Theory of Coherence. Analysis 63 (3):194–199.
Igor Douven & Wouter Meijs (2007). Measuring Coherence. Synthese 156 (3):405 - 425.
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