, Volume 191, Issue 16, pp 3821–3845 | Cite as

Probabilistic measures of coherence: from adequacy constraints towards pluralism

  • Michael Schippers


The debate on probabilistic measures of coherence flourishes for about 15 years now. Initiated by papers that have been published around the turn of the millennium, many different proposals have since then been put forward. This contribution is partly devoted to a reassessment of extant coherence measures. Focusing on a small number of reasonable adequacy constraints I show that (i) there can be no coherence measure that satisfies all constraints, and that (ii) subsets of these adequacy constraints motivate two different classes of coherence measures. These classes do not coincide with the common distinction between coherence as mutual support and coherence as relative set-theoretic overlap. Finally, I put forward arguments to the effect that for each such class of coherence measures there is an outstanding measure that outperforms all other extant proposals. One of these measures has recently been put forward in the literature, while the other one is based on a novel probabilistic measure of confirmation.


Probabilistic measures of coherence Confirmation measures Probabilistic support 



I owe special thanks to David H. Glass, Jakob Koscholke, Tomoji Shogenji, Mark Siebel and two anonymous reviewers for very helpful discussion or comments. This work was supported by Grant SI 1731/1-1 to Mark Siebel from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) as part of the priority program “New Frameworks of Rationality” (SPP 1516).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OldenburgOldenburgGermany

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