Full Text

coherentism

keith lehrer


Subject Philosophy » Epistemology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631192589.1993.x


Extract

Coherence is a major player in the theatre of knowledge. There are coherence theories of belief, truth and justification. These combine in various ways to yield theories of knowledge. We shall proceed from belief through justification to truth. Coherence theories of belief are concerned with the content of beliefs. Consider a belief you now have, the belief that you are reading a page in a book. So what makes that belief the belief that it is? What makes it the belief that you are reading a page in a book rather than the belief that you have a centaur in the garden? One answer is that the belief has a coherent place or role in a system of beliefs. Perception has an influence on belief. You respond to sensory stimuli by believing that you are reading a page in a book rather than believing that you have a centaur in the garden. Belief has an influence on action. You will act differently if you believe that you are reading a page than if you believe something about a centaur. Perception and action underdetermine the content of belief, however. The same stimuli may produce various beliefs and various beliefs may produce the same action. The role that gives the belief the content it has is the role it plays in a network of relations to other beliefs, the role in inference and implication, for example. I infer different things from believing that I am reading a page in a book than from ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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