, Volume 193, Issue 9, pp 2805–2814

Against relative overlap measures of coherence


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-015-0887-x

Cite this article as:
Koscholke, J. & Schippers, M. Synthese (2016) 193: 2805. doi:10.1007/s11229-015-0887-x


Coherence is the property of propositions hanging or fitting together. Intuitively, adding a proposition to a set of propositions should be compatible with either increasing or decreasing the set’s degree of coherence. In this paper we show that probabilistic coherence measures based on relative overlap are in conflict with this intuitive verdict. More precisely, we prove that (i) according to the naive overlap measure it is impossible to increase a set’s degree of coherence by adding propositions and that (ii) according to the refined overlap measure no set’s degree of coherence exceeds the degree of coherence of its maximally coherent subset. We also show that this result carries over to all other subset-sensitive refinements of the naive overlap measure. As both results stand in sharp contrast to elementary coherence intuitions, we conclude that extant relative overlap measures of coherence are inadequate.


Bayesian coherentism Probabilistic coherence measures   Relative overlap 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
  • SI 173/1-1

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of OldenburgOldenburgGermany

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