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Explain and illustrate one criticism of the view that a belief is knowledge if it coheres with other accepted beliefs

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Explain and illustrate one criticism of the view that a belief is knowledge if it coheres with other accepted beliefs Coherentism is the Philosophical idea that truths should not be looked at individually. They should rather be looked at, as a whole. The coherence theory can be put into two parts. These are the coherent theory of truth and the coherent theory of justification. The coherent theory is that truth is different to justified belief. Truth is infallible. It is, what it is, that being correct. Whether it is contingent truth, which may, or may not, be true at a certain time; or a universal truth, which is taken to be always true, everywhere. In contrast the theory of justification, only involves beliefs; although these beliefs have to be coherent when looked at together as a whole. As an example of this, we can look at the example of my Aunt Dotty. An envelope comes to my House. However, there is no letter inside of it. I come to the conclusion that the only person absent-minded enough to forget to put the letter inside the envelope is my Aunt Dotty. However, she lives in Exeter; when looking at the postmark, I see it comes from Edinburgh; also the handwriting on the envelope is not that of my Aunt Dotty. My theory that the envelope came from my Aunt Dotty, who just forgot to put in the letter does not cohere. ...read more.


Bradley, the noted Coherentist, writes: 'My object is to have a world as comprehensive and coherent as possible, and, in order to attain this object, I have not only to reflect but to perpetually have to recourse to the materials of sense. I must go to this source both to verify the matter which is old and also to increase it by what is new. And in this way I must depend upon the judgements of perception.' This shows that it is Bradley's aim to find the most coherent and therefore, hopefully, the only truly coherent set. Richard Wollheim late goes on to say that Bradley thought that Coherence should be a test of justification, rather that a test of any individual belief. Although, only 'those that have some initial inclination or motive to believe in,' so as a result of this coherence has the 'function... to discriminate within those judgements and to eliminate some in favour of others'. In line with Bradley's defence of Coherentism is that of Jonathan Dancy. He says 'in general, if we find ourselves scrutinising something we believe, we retain it unless we find something against it, just on the grounds that it is a belief already'. So, if we take Bradley's response, together with that of Dancy, we are shown that Coherentists do not intend for there to be multiple sets of coherent beliefs, as a result of the coherent theory. ...read more.


From this, Davidson believes the Coherentist can dismiss the argument against him. It seems that in the previous defences of Coherentism, the Coherentists have adapted there argument, to suit the criticism of those attempting to undermine it. That is to say, that they are adapting the argument to suit the focus of the criticism. For example, when criticised that Coherentism allows for multiple sets of belief, Bradley, showed that the aim is to have only the most coherent belief. This may show the simple sophistication of the argument. It allows for only the most coherent argument and therefore the most likely to be the truth, to be accepted. Rather, the Coherentist would normally only accept the most coherent argument, rather than the least. To give an example of this; say I woke up one morning. My window was smashed and my television was gone. One set of coherent beliefs is that I have been burgled and my television stolen. My Dad has gone, so he may be contacting the Police. Another set of coherent beliefs, may be that my dad has lost his mind and jumped out of the window with the television. One of these beliefs is more coherent that the other. My father has not history of mental illness, so I can suppose that we have been burgled. Although, both sets are coherent, one is more coherent than the other, so I accept the most coherent as my Belief. ?? ?? ?? ?? Adam pearson-Davies ...read more.

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