Against Coherence: Truth, Probability, and Justification (Hardback)
  • Against Coherence: Truth, Probability, and Justification (Hardback)
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Against Coherence: Truth, Probability, and Justification (Hardback)

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Hardback 246 Pages / Published: 21/04/2005
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It is tempting to think that, if a person's beliefs are coherent, they are also likely to be true. Indeed, this truth-conduciveness claim is the cornerstone of the popular coherence theory of knowledge and justification. Hitherto much confusion has been caused by the inability of coherence theorists to define their central concept. Nor have they succeeded in specifying in unambiguous terms what the notion of truth-conduciveness involves. This book is the most extensive and detailed study of coherence and probable truth to date. Erik Olsson argues that the value of coherence has been generally overestimated; it is severely problematic to maintain that coherence has a role to play in the process whereby beliefs are acquired or justified. He proposes that the opposite of coherence, i.e. incoherence, can still be the driving force in the process whereby beliefs are retracted, so that the role of coherence in our enquiries is negative rather than positive. Another innovative feature of Olsson's book is its unified, interdisciplinary approach to the issues at hand. The arguments are equally valid for coherence among any items of information, regardless of their sources (beliefs, memories, testimonies, and so on). Writing in accessible, non-technical language, Olsson takes the reader through much of the history of the subject, from early theorists like A. C. Ewing and C. I. Lewis to contemporary figures like Laurence BonJour and C. A. J. Coady. Against Coherence will make stimulating reading for epistemologists and anyone with a serious interest in truth.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199279999
Number of pages: 246
Weight: 475 g
Dimensions: 242 x 162 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
...a fascinating contribution to the literature on formal models of coherence and will be essential reading for anyone wishing to keep abreast of that literature. * Charles B. Cross, Mind *
...poses a powerful challenge to coherence theories of justification, from the standpoint of probabilistic epistemology. Anyone interested in the coherence theory or in probabilistic approaches to epistemology needs to attend closely to Olsson's careful and extremely important work. * Michael Huemer, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
Dr. Olsson has produced a very interesting, substantial and instructive book. It takes important elements of epistemological coherence theories to a higher level of clarity, thus making it possible to explore in a precise manner vague considerations that were all too often based on faulty intuitions. Central parts of the book can even be described as provocative, since they attack crucial parts of prototypical coherence theories. Undoubtedly this book represents a very significant advance in this field of philosophical research. * Hans Rott, Professor of Philosophy, Editor-in-Chief of Erkenntnis, Regensburg, Germany *
Olsson uses modern techniques from probability theory and modeling to examine whether the coherence theory of justification is tenable. Olsson takes us through much of the history and major figures in the coherence theory of justification. This work is well-written, well-informed by the existing literature and there is an interesting mix of formal argument and philosophical argumentation. * Luc Bovens, Professor, London School of Economics, Editor-in-Chief of Economics and Philosophy *

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