Coherence, Truth, and Testimony

Erik J. Olsson

in Against Coherence

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780199279999
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602665 | DOI:
Coherence, Truth, and Testimony

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The notion of a testimonial system is defined. It is argued that coherence pertains to testimonial systems. Various definitions of coherence in the literature are criticized for being either too vague or plainly inadequate. Reasons are given for thinking of full agreement among testimonies as a paradigm case of coherence. L. Jonathan Cohen’s convergence conditions are discussed. This Shows that agreement can guarantee a high likelihood of truth only if the circumstances are favourable as regards independence, prior probability, and individual credibility. This is seen to be problematic for the coherence theorist.

Keywords: agreement; L. Jonathan Cohen; credibility; independence; likelihood of truth; prior probability; testimony

Chapter.  9783 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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