, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 243-265

First online:

Providing Foundations for Coherentism

  • Sven Ove HanssonAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Stockholm University
  • , Erik J. OlssonAffiliated withFachgruppe Philosophie, Universität Konstanz

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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.