Coherence, Observation, and the Justification of Empirical Belief

  • Stuart Silvers
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 44)


Coherence theories of empirical knowledge would seem to arise out of the ashes of burned-out foundationalism. As Lehrer (1974) suggests, the weakness of foundationalism, i.e., its inability to detach the justification of any particular belief from the system of beliefs of which it is a constituent, is the strength of coherence. For on the coherence view, specific beliefs are justified only in terms of their relation to other beliefs. Perhaps this amounts to making a virtue of necessity but the point is just how virtuous the notion of coherence can be made to be. Given that the task is to construct an acceptable theory of empirical belief justification on the basis of a coherence relation among beliefs (none of which enjoys any epistemic priority), the virtues of coherence are required to be very considerable.


Belief State Belief Justification Perceptual Object Epistemic Justification Empirical Content 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart Silvers
    • 1
  1. 1.Tilburg UniversityThe Netherlands

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