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Any convincing arguments for Coherentism?

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philosophyguy1
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Posted 11/29/11 - 2:38 PM:
Subject: Any convincing arguments for Coherentism?
I've had trouble finding convincing argument for coherentism. I know the central idea is based on a "web" of beliefs that somehow justify each other, but what kind of arguments are made for this idea?
creative
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Posted 11/29/11 - 3:09 PM:

Coherence is necessary for knowledge, but insufficient for truth. Best props I can offer. Coherency follows from the law of noncontradiction.
fairyprince
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Posted 11/29/11 - 3:20 PM:

Arguments for coherentism? Arguments for things tend to be less than water proof, so like most held positions, it's about bet hedging, and not argumentation. Coherentism's main platform is that foundationalism is false, and that there are no basic beliefs that we use as the foundation to justify other beliefs. Rather beliefs grow into a network, which are mutually justifying, and are justified for as long as they remain coherent with the rest of the beliefs.

I like it, because at least it implies a practice. Something that you could do, and effect, rather than foundationalism, which implies beliefs that are unchangeable. Coherentism gives us a goal, to search through our belief webs, and hunt down everything that won't jive with the best stuff.

villager
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Posted 11/29/11 - 4:03 PM:

The coherence of an organism allows for self regulation,in a sense. You can change the structure of your ideas with which you do your thinking. But, there is also the law of adequatio- the understanding of the knower must be adequate to the thing to be known.
longfun
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Posted 11/29/11 - 4:08 PM:

philosophyguy1 wrote:
I've had trouble finding convincing argument for coherentism. I know the central idea is based on a "web" of beliefs that somehow justify each other, but what kind of arguments are made for this idea?

A web of beliefs acts as a mathematical strategy for increasing the mean time between failure of a system by continuously adding redundant parallel paths.
fairyprince
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Posted 11/29/11 - 5:59 PM:

longfun wrote:

A web of beliefs acts as a mathematical strategy for increasing the mean time between failure of a system by continuously adding redundant parallel paths.


So, avoids an infinite regress? How philosophically put. laughing
jorndoe
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Posted 11/29/11 - 7:27 PM:

I'd think (logical) consistency would be an argument for coherentism, no? smiling face

It's one of the primary aspects of foundherentism, the other primary aspect being foundationalism.
Roughly, adapted from the wikipedia article:
  • coherentism: some/any set of beliefs that mutually support each other (logically, directly or indirectly), form an overall consistent belief (a coherent web of beliefs); prone to circularity
  • foundationalism: axiomatic (presumed) beliefs derive other beliefs (unidirectionally); prone to arbitrariness
So, anyway, foundherentism is a popular "merger" of the two, and seems to jive well with the scientific methodologies (which, after all, is the most successful epistemological endeavor in the history of mankind this far).

Of course that doesn't mean that the diallelus is thus swiftly resolved. smiling face
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Posted 11/30/11 - 3:49 AM:

fairyprince wrote:


So, avoids an infinite regress? How philosophically put. laughing


you can regress by continuously removing redundant pathways up to the point where belief (the bubble itself) disappears out of observer sight, as the bubble is empty.The potential belief is still there, it is turned to zero observers,only observing itself within itself (belief/belief)

The other way around you can mathematically explains why belief can blossom.
The time a belief stays around as a system with parallel redundant paths is proportional to the partial sum of the harmonic series and since harmonic series diverges it is able to blossom.
But it blossoms only as long as one keeps on adding parallel paths up to infinity.
It starts to fails (un out of time) the moment nothing new is added.(look at history)
The length of belief behaves as a the length of tv series, You have a pilot movie/book/story (captures the attention, the brackets of the equation). The series, sequels, merchandising, spin-offs (redundant paths within brackets) etc. but when it stops it eventually gets outdated (runs out of time or observers).
Only the die-hards (trekkies, potter fans, god fans, you name it) who feed themselves with the redundant paths stay in it.
The rest no longer (needs) to see it. (at best one sees the flowering of a belief)
If you want to remove or better reduce a belief you can give it some space, time and speed it up...build some theme park around it.
It may get weird but one will be able to ignore it as well as it authority will end.(again visible within history, entertainment, etc)

Also here the other way around may be practical to plant beliefs and make them blossom. (gardeners do it all the time)
coherentism as I understand it refers to the coherence theory of truth (the mean time where in truth isn't failing) and to to the coherence theory of justification (harmonic paths)
If combined both they don't need to opposes foundationalism (justification) and infinitism (a truth is always true if infinite redundant paths are added)as both are incorporated.
as it is an equation one can put each one for observation on the other side of the equation and see how they name each-other.
but that's just my view.
fairyprince
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Posted 11/30/11 - 5:44 AM:

Well, I said that I like what coherentism implies as opposed to foundatiinalism, as the position is defined in contrast. I never said what I thought about them.

I, like kant, think that positions hat are defined in opposition are weak. That it is often the case that it is rather both or neither, which is why I was kind of mocky at first.

The thread doesn't ask what I think is the case.
ughaibu
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ughaibu
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Posted 03/01/12 - 7:39 PM:

jorndoe wrote:
. . . seems to jive well with the scientific methodologies (which, after all, is the most successful epistemological endeavor in the history of mankind this far).
As science is metaphysically neutral, I dont see how it can be classed as an epistemological endeavour.
Monk2400
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Posted 03/02/12 - 3:21 PM:

Weird thread. Invasion?

ughaibu wrote:
As science is metaphysically neutral, I dont see how it can be classed as an epistemological endeavour.


haha, science is not metaphysically neutral. Nothing is. That's impossible. All practical theories and established facts imply a metaphysics whether one recognizes it or not.

Indeed, the logical coherence of a system of beliefs guarantees this.

And if your practical system implies multiple competing metaphysics, then I'd suggest your practical system is incoherent itself, that is, it hasn't resolved within itself some fundamental difficulties (there are important questions left unanswered). This means that the whole system is 'neutral' in terms of (truth) value because as soon as one element is in flux, the whole thing shimmys into a blur.

8)
ughaibu
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Posted 03/02/12 - 10:24 PM:

Monk2400 wrote:
science is not metaphysically neutral. Nothing is. That's impossible.
Mathematics is metaphysically neutral, so is fiction, so your claim is demonstrably false.
Monk2400 wrote:
All practical theories and established facts imply a metaphysics whether one recognizes it or not.
I see no reason to accept this, have you got an argument in support of your contention?
Monk2400 wrote:
Indeed, the logical coherence of a system of beliefs guarantees this.
Same here, have you got an argument in support of this contention?
Monk2400 wrote:
This means that the whole system is 'neutral' in terms of (truth) value because as soon as one element is in flux, the whole thing shimmys into a blur.
If you're not saying, here, that science is metaphysically neutral, you'll need to clarify what you do mean.
Monk2400
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Posted 03/03/12 - 2:35 AM:

ughaibu wrote:

Mathematics is metaphysically neutral, so is fiction, so your claim is demonstrably false.


Neither fiction nor mathematics exist except in a particular world as ideas in the minds of particular beings. And such ideas form a part of the belief set of said beings, which in turn have, as a necessary component, implicit or explicit metaphysical implications.

You can't have a concept of number without thinking of a particular type of universe with a particular type of structure where the concept of number is meaningful.


ughaibu wrote:

I see no reason to accept this, have you got an argument in support of your contention?


All boats float on the ocean whether they call it an ocean or not. Any idea you have about the world implies a particular metaphysics that describes that world. Even if you yourself do not make this explicit, it is there all the same chained to your idea through logical connections.


ughaibu wrote:

If you're not saying, here, that science is metaphysically neutral, you'll need to clarify what you do mean.


Every belief set has one and only one optimal configuration of coherence wherein every level is in harmony with every other level, eg, metaphysics flows into physics into more and more acute studies. At every layer or level of belief there is only one set of propositions that are true, and that thus harmonize with the whole. If any layer implies contradictory propositions, then the whole layer is neutralized, and indeed, the entire system itself is set in flux, having no solid truth function from top to bottom. If your belief system describes a world that IS and IS NOT, then you aren't describing a world at all, and your system is not a system, but a moment in a process, waiting for the opposition to be resolved.

Now, if you want to look at science this way, I suppose you can. But in that case science has no epistemological value, that is, we cannot know anything scientifically, and all we have is a belief set in constant flux. But people normally think of science and the exercise thereof to make statements of fact about the world, and hence, provide knowledge, and thus be epistemologically unambiguous.

Even still, even if some level of scientific analysis yields a contradiction, that opposition might not 'back up' all the way to the metaphysical level. That is, both sides of the opposition may still imply a single metaphysical position, given their relative value and state within the belief set.

You're still left with the fact that any claim about the world is a claim about the world, and you can't have an idea about the world without having an idea about the world, which is to say, having an implicit notion of what type of metaphysical scenario best describes the world you are talking about.

8)
ughaibu
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ughaibu
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Posted 03/03/12 - 7:25 AM:

Monk2400 wrote:
Neither fiction nor. . . . you are talking about.
You've written a long post, but it seems to be pretty much meaningless. As far as I can tell, it's assertions and hand waving. If there's an argument, I cant see it.
If you have an argument, please spell it out in skeleton form. Numbered premises and conclusion.
Monk2400
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Posted 03/03/12 - 4:12 PM:

You first. Since you claim science is metaphysically neutral, lets see the argument.

8)
ughaibu
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ughaibu
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Posted 03/04/12 - 5:55 AM:

Monk2400 wrote:
You first. Since you claim science is metaphysically neutral, lets see the argument.
Science is the business of constructing models which allow the scientist to calculate the probability of making specified observations, given certain other specified observations.
Such models consist of abstract relations between uninterpreted variables. Regardless of the interpretation, the models remain equivalent, so they're metaphysically neutral.
Observations also are equivalent, for realists, anti-realist, solipsists, etc, so they too are metaphysically neutral.
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