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Lecture 16

Philosophy lecture 16 - the coherence theory.docx

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Western University
Philosophy 1020
John Thorp

Philosophy 1020 Coherence theory 0. Biographical Details: F.H. Bradley; Brand Blanshard 1. Review: problems with the coherence theory a) trouble over propositions & states of affairs - the picture seemed to become very complicated as we thought about exactly what was in correspondence – not beliefs and things, but propositions and state of affairs b) apparently useless for checking truth - usless for checking on individual cases of truth - we examine the belief, we examine the world … but we can only examine our belief!! -this is systematically impossible  We cant check for correspondence between beliefs and reality because, while we can check our beliefs, we have no access to reality except via our beliefs about it! 2. How in fact do we check for truth?  This led us to ask how we do in fact check for truth  We have visually based belief that the monkey is on the carpet, we would check for belief by: o A tactilely based belief o An olfactory based belief o An information based belief (peers) 3. The Coherence Theory of Truth  The theory we actually use is the coherence theory  Those propositions are true that are supported by all available evidence, with no evidence contradicting But….  Even if this is how we in fact operate when we are establishing belief, there is a very big problem with it. 4. The problem with the Coherence Theory: it leads to skepticism  It is perfectly imaginable that a whole set of my beliefs is coherent, but that they are all false!  Imagine the following: o In reality there is a monkey on the carpet o But I have a visual impression of an orange  Moreover, I have the tactile, visual, olfactory, and friend told me that its an orange, but in fact, it is a monkey  The coherence theory would say that, in this case, I have established that it is true that there is an orange on the carpet o But of course, this isn’t true  Now of course, in this cas
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