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Erkenntnis

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 387–412 | Cite as

The Impossibility of Coherence

  • Erik J. Olsson
Article

Abstract

There is an emerging consensus in the literature on probabilistic coherence that such coherence cannot be truth conducive unless the information sources providing the cohering information are individually credible and collectively independent. Furthermore, coherence can at best be truth conducive in a ceteris paribus sense. Bovens and Hartmann have argued that there cannot be any measure of coherence that is truth conducive even in this very weak sense. In this paper, I give an alternative impossibility proof. I provide a relatively detailed comparison of the two results, which turn out to be logically unrelated, and argue that my result answers a question raised by Bovens and Hartmann’s study. Finally, I discuss the epistemological ramifications of these findings and try to make plausible that a shift to an explanatory framework such as Thagard’s is unlikely to turn the impossibility into a possibility.

Keywords

Information Source Detailed Comparison Weak Sense Explanatory Framework Probabilistic Coherence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyLund UniversityLundSweden

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