In this paper I prove that holistic coherentism is logically equivalent to the conjunction of symmetry and quasi-transitivity of epistemic support and a condition on justified beliefs. On the way I defend Tom Stoneham from a criticism made by Darrell Rowbottom and prove a premiss of Stoneham’s argument to be an entailment of coherentism.
The success of Bovens and Hartmann’s recent “impossibility result” against Bayesian Coherentism relies upon the adoption of a specific set of ceteris paribus conditions. In this paper, I argue that these conditions are not clearly appropriate; certain proposed coherence measures motivate different such conditions and also call for the rejection of at least one of Bovens and Hartmann’s conditions. I show that there exist sets of intuitively plausible ceteris paribus conditions that allow one to sidestep the impossibility result. This (...) shifts the debate from the merits of the impossibility result itself to the underlying choice of ceteris paribus conditions. (shrink)
The paper takes off from the suggestion of Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen that Kuhn’s account of science may be understood in coherentist terms. There are coherentist themes in Kuhn’s philosophy of science. But one crucial element is lacking. Kuhn does not deny the existence of basic beliefs which have a non-doxastic source of justification. Nor does he assert that epistemic justification only derives from inferential relationships between non-basic beliefs. Despite this, the coherentist interpretation is promising and I develop it further in this (...) paper. I raise the question of whether Kuhn’s account of science can deal with the input objection to coherentism. I argue that the role played by problems in Kuhn’s theory of science ensures that there is input from the external world into scientists’ belief-systems. I follow Hoyningen-Huene in pointing to the causal role played by the external world in determining perceptual states. I next turn to the question of whether Kuhn’s rejection of foundationalism implies coherentism. I argue that Kuhn’s rejection of the one-to-one relation between object and experience is compatible with a foundationalist account of justification. Nor does Kuhn’s rejection of the given entail the same coherentist implications as Sellars’ critique of the myth of the given. (shrink)
It is standard practice, when distinguishing between the foundationalist and the coherentist, to construe the coherentist as an internalist. The coherentist, the construal goes, says that justification is solely a matter of coherence, and that coherence, in turn, is solely a matter of internal relations between beliefs. The coherentist, so construed, is an internalist (in the sense I have in mind) in that the coherentist, so construed, says that whether a belief is justified hinges solely on what the subject is (...) like mentally. I argue that this practice is fundamentally misguided, by arguing that the foundationalism / coherentism debate and the internalism / externalism debate are about two very different things, so that there is nothing, qua coherentist, precluding the coherentist from siding with the externalist. I then argue that this spells trouble for two of the three most pressing and widely known objections to coherentism: the Alternative-Systems Objection and the Isolation Objection. (shrink)
In ‘A reductio of coherentism’ (Analysis 67, 2007) Tom Stoneham offers a novel argument against epistemological coherentism. ‘On the face of it’, he writes, ‘the argument gives a conclusive reductio ad absurdum of any coherence theory of justification. But that cannot be right, can it?’ (p. 254). It could be right, but it isn’t. I argue that coherentists need not accept the central premises of Stoneham’s argument and that, even if these premises were acceptable and true, Stoneham’s reductio (...) would not follow. (shrink)
Some recent work in formal epistemology shows that “witness agreement” by itself implies neither an increase in the probability of truth nor a high probability of truth—the witnesses need to have some “individual credibility.” It can seem that, from this formal epistemological result, it follows that coherentist justification (i.e., doxastic coherence) is not truth-conducive. I argue that this does not follow. Central to my argument is the thesis that, though coherentists deny that there can be noninferential justification, coherentists do not (...) deny that there can be individual credibility. (shrink)
Coherentists on epistemic justification claim that all justification is inferential, and that beliefs, when justified, get their justification together (not in isolation) as members of a coherent belief system. Some recent work in formal epistemology shows that “individual credibility” is needed for “witness agreement” to increase the probability of truth and generate a high probability of truth. It can seem that, from this result in formal epistemology, it follows that coherentist justification is not truth-conducive, that it is not the case (...) that, under the requisite conditions, coherentist justification increases the probability of truth and generates a high probability of truth. I argue that this does not follow. (shrink)
Liberal societies are characterized by respect for a fundamental value pluralism; i.e., respect for individuals’ rights to live by their own conception of the good. Still, the state must make decisions that privilege some values at the cost of others. When public ethics committees give substantial ethical advice on policy related issues, it is therefore important that this advice is well justified. The use of explicit tools for ethical assessment can contribute to justifying advice. In this article, I will discuss (...) one approach to ethical assessment, the ethical matrix method. This method is a variant of intuitionist balancing. Intuitionism is characterized by stressing the existence of several (at least two) fundamental prima facie moral principles, between which there is no given rank order. For some intuitionist approaches, coherentism has been proposed as a model of justification. This article will discuss justification of ethical advice and evaluate the appropriateness of coherentism as a justificatory approach to intuitionist tools. (shrink)
Plantinga argues that cases involving ‘fixed’ beliefs refute the coherentist thesis that a belief’s belonging to a coherent set of beliefs suffices for its having justification (warrant). According to Plantinga, a belief cannot be justified if there is a ‘lack of fit’ between it and its subject’s experiences. I defend coherentism by showing that if Plantinga means to claim that any ‘lack of fit’ destroys justification, his argument is obviously false. If he means to claim that significant ‘lack of (...) fit’ destroys justification, his argument suffers a critical lack of support. Either way, Plantinga’s argument fails and coherentism emerges unscathed. (shrink)
Over the last twenty years, John Rawls has developed an approach to political philosophy which appeals to the notion of reflective equilibrium. This notion has proven suggestive to those attracted to coherence approaches to justification, in ethics and in other domains as well. In this paper, I explore the question whether Rawls’s approach provides a model for a coherentist account of justification, concluding that although the discussion of reflective equilibrium has provided helpful insights it has not produced a coherentist model (...) of justification. (shrink)
This paper formally explores the common ground between mild versions of epistemological coherentism and infinitism; it proposes—and argues for—a hybrid, coherentist–infinitist account of epistemic justification. First, the epistemological regress argument and its relation to the classical taxonomy regarding epistemic justification—of foundationalism, infinitism and coherentism—is reviewed. We then recall recent results proving that an influential argument against infinite regresses of justification, which alleges their incoherence on account of probabilistic inconsistency, cannot be maintained. Furthermore, we prove that the Principle of (...) Inferential Justification has rather unwelcome consequences—formally resembling the Sorites paradox—as soon as it is iterated and combined with a natural Bayesian perspective on probabilistic inferences. We conclude that strong versions of foundationalism and infinitism should be abandoned. Positively, we provide a rough sketch for a graded formal coherence notion, according to which infinite regresses of epistemic justification will often have more than a minimal degree of coherence. (shrink)
Semantic holists view what one's terms mean as function of all of one's usage. Holists will thus be coherentists about semantic justification: showing that one's usage of a term is semantically justified involves showing how it coheres with the rest of one's usage. Semantic atomists, by contrast, understand semantic justification in a foundationalist fashion. Saul Kripke has, on Wittgenstein's behalf, famously argued for a type of skepticism about meaning and semantic justification. However, Kripke's argument has bite only if one understands (...) semantic justification in foundationalist terms. Consequently, Kripke's arguments lead not to a type of skepticism about meaning, but rather to the conclusion that one should be a coherentist about semantic justification, and thus a holist about semantic facts. (shrink)
If a subject’s belief system is inconsistent, does it follow that the subject’s beliefs (all of them) are unjustified? It seems not. But, coherentist theories of justification (at least some of them) imply otherwise, and so, it seems, are open to counterexample. This is the “Problem of Justified Inconsistent Beliefs”. I examine two main versions of the Problem of Justified Inconsistent Beliefs, and argue that coherentists can give at least a promising line of response to each of them.
A model of coherentist belief contraction is constructed. The outcome of belief contraction is required to be one of the coherent subsets of the original belief set, and a set of plausible properties is proposed for this set of coherent subsets. The contraction operators obtained in this way are shown to coincide with well-known belief base operations. This connection between coherentist and "foundationalist" approaches to belief change has important implications for the philosophical interpretation of models of belief change.
Can a perceptual experience justify (epistemically) a belief? More generally, can a nonbelief justify a belief? Coherentists answer in the negative: Only a belief can justify a belief. A perceptual experience can cause a belief but cannot justify a belief. Coherentists eschew all noninferential justification—justification independent of evidential support from beliefs—and, with it, the idea that justification has a foundation. Instead, justification is holistic in structure. Beliefs are justified together, not in isolation, as members of a coherent belief system. The (...) main question of the paper is whether coherentism is consistent. I set out an apparent inconsistency in coherentism and then give a resolution to that apparent inconsistency. (shrink)
Ted Poston's book Reason and Explanation: A Defense of Explanatory Coherentism is a book worthy of careful study. Poston develops and defends an explanationist theory of (epistemic) justification on which justification is a matter of explanatory coherence which in turn is a matter of conservativeness, explanatory power, and simplicity. He argues that his theory is consistent with Bayesianism. He argues, moreover, that his theory is needed as a supplement to Bayesianism. There are seven chapters. I provide a chapter-by-chapter summary (...) along with some substantive concerns. (shrink)
Coherentism is a theory of epistemic justification. It implies that for a belief to be justified it must belong to a coherent system of beliefs. For a system of beliefs to be coherent, the beliefs that make up that system must “cohere” with one another. Typically, this coherence is taken to involve three components: logical consistency, explanatory relations, and various inductive (non-explanatory) relations. Rival versions of coherentism spell out these relations in different ways. They also differ on the (...) exact role of coherence in justifying beliefs: in some versions, coherence is necessary and sufficient for justification, but in others it is only necessary. (shrink)
In this paper, I show the complementarity of foundationalism and coherentism with respect to any efficient system of beliefs by means of a distinction between two types of proposition drawn from an analogy with an axiomatic system. This distinction is based on the way a given proposition is acknowledged as true, either by declaration (F-proposition) or by preservation (C-proposition). Within such a perspective, i.e., epistemological complementarism, not only can one see how the usual opposition between foundationalism and coherentism (...) is irrelevant, but furthermore one can appreciate the reciprocal relation between these two theories as they refer to two separate epistemological functions involved in the dynamics of constituting and expanding an epistemic system. (shrink)
It is sometimes assumed in the Bayesian coherentist literature that the project of finding a truth-conducive measure of coherence of testimonial contents will, if successful, be helpful to the coherentist theory of justification. Various impossibility results in the Bayesian coherentist literature are consequently taken to be prima facie detrimental to the coherentist theory of justification. These attempts to connect Bayesian coherentism to the coherentist/ foundationalist debate in classical epistemology rest upon a confusion between the justification of a proposition and (...) the credibility that a proposition has for some other proposition. Foundationalism requires a class of beliefs that have non- inferential justification, not beliefs that have credibility by themselves for others. Coherentists insist that beliefs can be justified only via inferential relations with others, but this does not mean that coherentists must deny that individual propositions can have credibility for other propositions. I analyze and respond to both Erik Olsson's and Michael Huemer's arguments concerning the alleged connection between the Bayesian coherentist project and the coherentist theory of justification. Finally, I argue that Bayesian coherentism as represented in the literature, so far from being a version of coherentism, is implicitly foundationalist because of its treatment of “witness reports”, especially the reports of memory and sensation, as given evidence. The impossibility results, based on the assumption of given reports, are therefore not targeted at classical coherentism in epistemology at all. (shrink)
Recent results in the literature appear to show that it is impossible for two independent testimonies to jointly raise the probability of a proposition if neither testimony individually has any impact on that probability. I show that these impossibility results do not apply when testimonies agree on incidental details.
What makes an ``ought'''' claim authoritative? What makes aparticular norm genuinely reason-giving for an agent? This paper arguesthat normative authority can best be accounted for in terms of thejustification of norms. The main obstacle to such a theory, however, isa regress problem. The worry is that every attempt to offer ajustification for an ``ought'''' claim must appeal to another ``ought''''claim, ad infinitum. The paper argues that vicious regress canbe avoided in practical reasoning in the same way coherentists avoid theproblem in (...) epistemology. Norms are justified by their coherence withother norms. (shrink)
We put forward a new, ‘coherentist’ account of quantum entanglement, according to which entangled systems are characterized by symmetric relations of ontological dependence among the component particles. We compare this coherentist viewpoint with the two most popular alternatives currently on offer—structuralism and holism—and argue that it is essentially different from, and preferable to, both. In the course of this article, we point out how coherentism might be extended beyond the case of entanglement and further articulated.
The coherentist theory of justification provides a response to the sceptical challenge: even though the independent processes by which we gather information about the world may be of dubious quality, the internal coherence of the information provides the justification for our empirical beliefs. This central canon of the coherence theory of justification is tested within the framework of Bayesian networks, which is a theory of probabilistic reasoning in artificial intelligence. We interpret the independence of the information gathering processes (IGPs) in (...) terms of conditional independences, construct a minimal sufficient condition for a coherence ranking of information sets and assess whether the confidence boost that results from receiving information through independent IGPs is indeed a positive function of the coherence of the information set. There are multiple interpretations of what constitute IGPs of dubious quality. Do we know our IGPs to be no better than randomization processes? Or, do we know them to be better than randomization processes but not quite fully reliable, and if so, what is the nature of this lack of full reliability? Or, do we not know whether they are fully reliable or not? Within the latter interpretation, does learning something about the quality of some IGPs teach us anything about the quality of the other IGPs? The Bayesian-network models demonstrate that the success of the coherentist canon is contingent on what interpretation one endorses of the claim that our IGPs are of dubious quality. (shrink)
The most pressing difficulty coherentism faces is, I believe, the problem of justified inconsistent beliefs. In a nutshell, there are cases in which our beliefs appear to be both fully rational and justified, and yet the contents of the beliefs are inconsistent, often knowingly so. This fact contradicts the seemingly obvious idea that a minimal requirement for coherence is logical consistency. Here, I present a solution to one version of this problem.
Once upon a time, coherentism was the dominant response to the regress problem in epistemology, but in recent decades the view has fallen into disrepute: now almost everyone is a foundationalist (with a few infinitists sprinkled here and there). In this paper, I sketch a new way of thinking about coherentism, and show how it avoids many of the problems often thought fatal for the view, including the isolation objection, worries over circularity, and concerns that the concept of (...) coherence is too vague or metaphorical for serious theoretical use. The key to my approach is to take a familiar tool from discussions of the regress problem -- namely, directed graphs depicting the support relations between beliefs -- and to use that tool in a more sophisticated manner than it is standardly employed. (shrink)
Recent results in probability theory have cast doubt on the coherence theory of justification, allegedly showing that coherence cannot produce justification for beliefs in the absence of foundational justification, and that there can be no measure of coherence on which coherence is generally truth-conducive. I argue that the coherentist can reject some of the assumptions on which these theorems depend. Coherence can then be held to produce justification on its own, and truth-conducive measures of coherence can be constructed.
The present paper argues that the typical structuralist claims according to which invariances, symmetries and the like are fundamental – especially in physics – should not be understood in terms of physical relations being fundamental. Rather, they should be understood in terms of ‘metaphysical coherentism’ - the idea that object-like parts of reality exhibit symmetric relations of ontological dependence. The view is developed in some detail, in particular by showing that i) symmetric ontological dependence does not necessarily lead to (...) uninformative metaphysical explanations, and ii) metaphysical coherentism strikes the best balance between the requirements of naturalism and those of theoretical consistency – especially in view of the difficulties that structuralists seem to have in accounting for all state-independent properties of particles in relational terms. On this basis, the coherentist picture is applied to the interpretation of the quantum domain, and contrasted with extant varieties of structuralism, of both the eliminative and the non-eliminative sort, and holism. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue that Ted Poston's theory of explanatory coherentism is well-suited as a tool for causal explanation in the health sciences, particularly in epidemiology. Coherence has not only played a role in epidemiology for more than half a century as one of Hill's viewpoints, it can also provide background theory for the development of explanatory systems by integrating epidemiologic evidence with a diversity of other error-independent data. I propose that computational formalization of Hill's viewpoints in an (...) explanatory coherentist framework would provide an excellent starting point for a formal epistemological (knowledge-theoretical) project designed to improve causal explanation in the health sciences. As an example, I briefly introduce Paul Thagard's ECHO system and offer my responses to possible objections to my proposal. (shrink)
According to the truth-conduciveness problem of coherentism, the coherence theory of justification can hardly show that coherentist justification is truth-conducive. This problem is generally conceived as the most recalcitrant problem with the coherence theory. The purpose of this paper is to show that it does not pose a serious problem for a certain version of coherentism, namely a Sellarsian explanatory coherence theory of justification combined with the deflationary theory of truth. On this version of coherentism, our epistemic (...) goal is to gradually improve our conceptual framework so as to maximize its explanatory coherence, and there is no substantial norm of truth independent of the norms of justification, so that we cannot evaluate the truth-conduciveness of a belief independently of the norms of justification. I argue that this version of coherentism can cope with the truth-conduciveness problem. (shrink)
Kuhn argued against both the correspondence theory of truth and convergent realism. Although he likely misunderstood the nature of the correspondence theory, which it seems he wrongly believed to be an epistemic theory, Kuhn had an important epistemic point to make. He maintained that any assessment of correspondence between beliefs and reality is not possible, and therefore, the acceptance of beliefs and the presumption of their truthfulness has to be decided on the basis of other criteria. I will show that (...) via Kuhn’s suggested epistemic values, specifically via problem-solving, his philosophy can be incorporated into a coherentist epistemology. Further, coherentism is, in principle, compatible with convergent realism. However, an argument for increasing likeness to truth requires appropriate historical continuity. Kuhn maintained that the history of science is full of discontinuity, and therefore, the historical condition of convergent realism is not satisfied.Keywords: Thomas Kuhn; The correspondence theory of truth; The coherence theory of justification; Convergent realism; Rationalism. (shrink)
One of the integral parts of Bayesian coherentism is the view that the relation of ‘being no less coherent than’ is fully determined by the probabilistic features of the sets of propositions to be ordered. In the last one and a half decades, a variety of probabilistic measures of coherence have been put forward. However, there is large disagreement as to which of these measures best captures the pre-theoretic notion of coherence. This paper contributes to the debate on coherence (...) measures by considering three classes of adequacy constraints. Various independence and dependence relations between the members of each class will be taken into account in order to reveal the ‘grammar’ of probabilistic coherence measures. Afterwards, existing proposals are examined with respect to this list of desiderata. Given that for purely mathematical reasons there can be no measure that satisfies all constraints, the grammar allows the coherentist to articulate an informed pluralist stance as regards probabilistic measures of coherence. (shrink)
Recent results in probability theory have cast doubt on coherentism, purportedly showing (a) that coherence among a set of beliefs cannot raise their probability unless individual beliefs have some independent credibility, and (b) that no possible measure of coherence makes coherence generally probability-enhancing. I argue that coherentists can reject assumptions on which these theorems depend, and I derive a general condition under which the concurrence of two information sources lacking individual credibility can raise the probability of what they report.
We prove that four theses commonly associated with coherentism are incompatible with the representation of a belief state as a logically closed set of sentences. The result is applied to the conventional coherence interpretation of the AGM theory of belief revision, which appears not to be tenable. Our argument also counts against the coherentistic acceptability of a certain form of propositional holism. We argue that the problems arise as an effect of ignoring the distinction between derived and non-derived beliefs, (...) and we suggest that the kind of coherence relevant to epistemic justification is the coherence of non-derived beliefs. (shrink)
This paper develops and defends a coherentist account of reasons. I develop three core ideas for this defense: a distinction between basic reasons and noninferential justification, the plausibility of the neglected argument against first philosophy, and an emergent account of reasons. These three ideas form the backbone for a credible coherentist view of reasons. I work toward this account by formulating and explaining the basic reasons dilemma. This dilemma reveals a wavering attitude that coherentists have had toward basic reasons. More (...) importantly, the basic reasons dilemma focuses our attention on the central problems that afflict coherentist views of basic beliefs. By reflecting on the basic reasons dilemma, I formulate three desiderata that any viable coherentist account of basic beliefs must satisfy. I argue that the account on offer satisfies these desiderata. (shrink)
This paper defends a coherentist approach to moral epistemology. In “The Immorality of Eating Meat”, I offer a coherentist consistency argument to show that our own beliefs rationally commit us to the immorality of eating meat. Elsewhere, I use our own beliefs as premises to argue that we have positive duties to assist the poor and to argue that biomedical animal experimentation is wrong. The present paper explores whether this consistency-based coherentist approach of grounding particular moral judgments on beliefs we (...) already hold, with no appeal to moral theory, is a legitimate way of doing practical ethics. I argue that grounding particular moral judgments on our core moral convictions and other core nonmoral beliefs is a legitimate way to justify moral judgments, that these moral judgments possess as much epistemic justification and have as much claim to objectivity as moral judgments grounded on particular ethical theories, and that this internalistic coherentist method of grounding moral judgments is more likely to result in behavioral guidance than traditional theory-based approaches to practical ethics. By way of illustrating the approach, I briefly recapitulate my consistency-based argument for ethical vegetarianism. I then defend the coherentist approach implicit in the argument against a number of potentially fatal metatheoretical attacks. (shrink)
In this paper I make some critical comments on John McDowell’s Mind and World and offer suggestions as to how it might be possible to solve John McDowell’s problem of finding a safe passage between the Scylla of the “Myth of the Given” and the Charybdis of a Davidsonian linguistic coherentism. McDowell’s defense of a minimal empiricism depends on the largely unargued and ultimately untenable assumption that epistemic justification can only operate at the level of conceptual or propositional entities. (...) Drawing on contemporary analytic philosophy of mind and continental philosophy of subjectivity, I try to show that epistemic normativity already comes into play at two levels of experience—sensory observation and self-knowledge—that are more basic than the conceptual. What McDowell needs is a philosophy of subjectivity that would allow him to identify primary sources of epistemic normativity that are both subjectcentered and pre-conceptual. (shrink)
In this paper I offer a coherentist justification of induction along the lines of a Sellarsian coherence theory. On this coherence theory, a proposition is justified if we can answer all objections raised against it in our social practice of demanding justification and responding to such demands. On the basis of this theory of justification, I argue that we are justified in accepting the uniformity of nature partly because we have no alternative but to accept it for rationally pursuing our (...) epistemic goal. In addition, my coherentist view explains which inductive inferences it is rational to accept. Furthermore, my coherentist view also explains why we can hardly determine a particular numerical value x such that we can draw the conclusion ‘it is rational to accept that p’ from the premise ‘the numerical probability of p is greater than or equal to x’. (shrink)
The central claim of the paper is, roughly, that the fact that it looks to somebody as if p is a defeasibly a priori reason for assuming that p (and vice versa), for any person, even for the perceiver himself. As a preparation, it outlines a doxastic conception suitable to explicate this claim and explains how to analyse dispositions within this conception. Since an observable p has the disposition to look as if p, this analysis generalizes to the central claim (...) which is then argued to be at the bottom of coherentism. Thus, the defense of the claim supports coherentism as opposed to foundationalism and at the same time provides an answer to skepticism about the external world. (shrink)
The paper challenges a recent attempt by Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen to show that since Thomas Kuhn’s philosophical standpoint can be incorporated into coherentist epistemology, it does not necessarily lead to: an abandonment of rationality and rational interparadigm theory comparison, nor to an abandonment of convergent realism. Leaving aside the interpretation of Kuhn as a coherentist, we will show that Kuukkanen’s first thesis is not sufficiently explicated, while the second one entirely fails. With regard to Thesis 1, we argue that Kuhn’s view (...) on inter-paradigm theory comparison allows only for ‘the weak notion of rationality’, and that Kuukkanen’s argument is thus acceptable only in view of such a notion. With regard to Thesis 2, we show that even if we interpret Kuhn as a coherentist, his philosophical standpoint cannot be seen as compatible with convergent realism since Kuhn’s argument against it is not ‘ultimately empirical’, as Kuukkanen takes it to be.Keywords: Thomas S. Kuhn; Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen; Coherentist epistemology; Rationality; Theory choice; Convergent realism. (shrink)
While Process Reliabilism has long been regarded by many as a version of Foundationalism, this paper argues that there is a version of Process Reliabilism that can also been seen as at least a partial vindication of Coherentism as well. The significance of this result lies in what it tells us both about the prospects for a plausible Process Reliabilism, but also about the old-school debate between Foundationalists and Coherentists.
A model of coherentist belief contraction is constructed. The outcome of belief contraction is required to be one of the coherent subsets of the original belief set, and a set of plausible properties is proposed for this set of coherent subsets. The contraction operators obtained in this way are shown to coincide with well-known belief base operations. This connection between coherentist and foundationalist approaches to belief change has important implications for the philosophical interpretation of models of belief change.
Often coherentism is taken to be the view that justification is solely a function of the coherence among a person's beliefs. I offer a counterexample to the idea that when so understood coherence is sufficient for justification. I then argue that the counterexample will still work if coherence is understood as coherence among a person's beliefs and experiences. I defend a form of nondoxastic foundationalism that takes sensations and philosophical intuitions as basic and sees nearly all other justification as (...) depending on inference to the best explanation. I take up Wilfrid Sellars's Dilemma, which starts with the idea that the foundations must be either propositional in nature or not. The argument continues: if they are, they stand in need of justification; if they are not, they cannot confer justification. It concludes that there cannot be foundations that confer justification on other beliefs. I deny both horns of this dilemma, arguing that philosophical intuitions are propositional but do not stand in need of justification and that sensations are not propositional but can confer justification on perceptual beliefs. (shrink)
In, I put forward a “possibility result” for Bayesian Coherentism, showing that there exist plausible sets of ceteris paribus conditions that imply that coherence is truth-conducive. Against this result, Schubert argues that the specific ceteris paribus conditions I consider are “jointly inconsistent”. In this article, I prove to the contrary that these conditions can consistently be enforced while allowing degrees of coherence to vary. Next, I consider a related criticism, inspired by Olsson’s constraints on ceteris paribus conditions. This leads (...) to a general discussion of the principle that should guide one in choosing appropriately stringent ceteris paribus conditions.En planteo un “resultado de posibilidad” para el bayesianismo coherentista mostrando que existen conjuntos plausibles de condiciones ceteris paribus que implican que la coherencia conduce a la verdad. Schubert argumenta en contra de este resultado que las condiciones ceteris paribus que considero son “inconsistentes tomadas conjuntamente”. En este articulo demuestro, sin embargo, que estas condiciones pueden ser satisfechas permitiendo que los grados de coherencia varien. Abordo despues una critica relacionada con la anterior e inspirada en los requisitos impuestos por Olsson a las condiciones ceteris paribus. Eso lleva a una discusion general del principio, o principios, que deberia guiarnos para elegir unas condiciones ceterisparibus que sean apropiadas, es decir, que no sean ni muy restrictivas, ni demasiado laxas. (shrink)
The discussion regards moral epistemology as the research of a proper methodology in moral thinking. Coherentism is proposed as the appropriate methodology in the individual context of moral thinking (because of the fact that all the alternatives to coherentism, at least understood as a regulatory ideal, are opposed to rationality), while a qualified form of consensualism is proposed as the appropriate methodology in the context of communitarian or public justification of beliefs.
Some critics of coherentism have depicted it so that it founders on the distinction between warrant for the content of a belief and warrant for the believing itself. This distinction has to do with the basing relation: one might have warrant for the content of what one believes without basing one's belief properly, without holding the belief because of what warrants it. When the first kind of warrant obtains, I will say that a belief is propositionally warranted.
In this paper, we are mainly concerned with coherentism as an approach to ethical dialog in school. We have two different but connected aims with the paper. The first aim is to say something about general philosophical questions relating to coherentism as a theory in metaethics, and especially in relation to value education; the second aim is to explore some possible implications of coherentism as a method in studying the enterprise of discussing ethical issues and questions with (...) children as well as the study of the actual ethical discussion in school. Furthermore, we evaluate the connection between a coherentistic approach to justification and the methodological parts of a Philosophy with Children, or Community of Inquiry, approach to ethics in school. Related to this, we scrutinize what implications this has for evaluating ethical learning within Philosophy with Children, or Community of Inquiry, as well as implications for evaluation of the Philosophy with Children, or Community of Inquiry, approaches as methods for dealing with ethical matters in school. (shrink)
One of the most influential arguments for the coherence theory of empirical justification is BonJours a priori argument from the internalist regress. According to this argument, foundationalism cannot solve the problem of the internalist regress since internalism is incompatible with basic beliefs. Hence, coherentism seems to be the only option. In my article I contend that this argument is doomed to failure. It is either too strong or too weak. Too strong, since even coherentism cannot stop the internalist (...) regress in any legitimate way. In order to demonstrate this claim I will discuss various coherentist strategies. Too weak, since, were coherentism able to stop the regress, the argument against foundationalism would collapse. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga and John Pollock both think that coherentism is a mistaken theory of justification, and they do so for different reasons. In spite of these differences, there are remarkable connections between their criticisms. Part of my goal here is to show what these connections are. I will show that Plantinga’s construal of coherentism presupposes Pollock’s arguments against that view, and I will argue that coherentists need not breathe their last in response to the contentions of either. (...) class='Hi'>Coherentism may be a mistaken theory of justification, but if it is, it is not shown to be so by either Plantinga or Pollock. (shrink)