, Volume 193, Issue 9, pp 2805–2814 | Cite as

Against relative overlap measures of coherence

  • Jakob KoscholkeEmail author
  • Michael Schippers


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 



We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers whose comments helped us to improve this paper. 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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of OldenburgOldenburgGermany

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