Coherence, anti-realism and the vienna circle

Synthese 86 (3):467 - 482 (1991)
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Some members of the Vienna Circle argued for a coherence theory of truth. Their coherentism is immune to standard objections. Most versions of coherentism are unable to show why a sentence cannot be true even though it fails to cohere with a system of beliefs. That is, it seems that truth may transcend what we can be warranted in believing. If so, truth cannot consist in coherence with a system of beliefs. The Vienna Circle's coherentists held, first, that sentences are warranted by coherence with a system of beliefs. Next they drew upon their verification theory of meaning, a consequence of which is that truth cannot transcend what can be warranted. The coherence theory of knowledge and verificationism together entail that truth cannot transcend what can be warranted by coherence with a system of beliefs. The Vienna Circle's argument for coherentism is strong and anticipates contemporary anti-realism.



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James O. Young
University of Victoria

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References found in this work

Logical Positivism.Alfred Jules Ayer (ed.) - 1959 - Greenwood Press.
Realism.Michael Dummett - 1982 - Synthese 52 (1):145--165.
Meaning and verification.Moritz Schlick - 1936 - Philosophical Review 45 (4):339-369.

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