Coherence, Justification, and the AGM Theory of Belief Revision

In Yves Bouchard (ed.), Perspectives on Coherentism. Editions du Scribe. pp. 139--160 (2002)

Authors
Michael Shaffer
St. Cloud State University
Abstract
In a recent article, Peter Gärdenfors (1992) has suggested that the AGM (Alchourrón, Gärdenfors, and Makinson) theory of belief revision can be given an epistemic basis by interpreting the revision postulates of that theory in terms of a version of the coherence theory of justification. To accomplish this goal Gärdenfors suggests that the AGM revision postulates concerning the conservative nature of belief revision can be interpreted in terms of a concept of epistemic entrenchment and that there are good empirical reasons to adopt this view as opposed to some form of foundationalist account of the justification of our beliefs. In this paper I argue that Gärdenfors’ attempt to underwrite the AGM theory of belief revision by appealing to a form of coherentism is seriously inadequate for several reasons.
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