Turn on thread page Beta
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by grumballcake)
    1. S believes p
    2. So, p must be in S's system of beliefs
    3. Thus, p must follow from S's system of beliefs
    4. So, S is justified in believing p.

    Circular? I think so, but it's all part of the problems of coherentism. However, let's push it even further:

    Either S's system of beliefs is coherent, or it is not coherent.
    If it's coherent, then for all p, S is justified in believing p.
    If it's not coherent, then for all p, S is not justified in believing p.

    The result? All or nothing justification. Is that absurd? Yes, it is.
    Just to jump in on Coherentism's side - 3 following from 2 depends on the assumption that 'If p is in a system of beliefs, then p follows from that system of beliefs.' This isn't valid. The argument is about whether p follows from the other beliefs, whereas you seem to be saying that p follows from itself (i.e the reason it follows from the system is that the system contains p).

    For the 2nd part, you start off by assuming your conclusion. If "Either S's system of beliefs is coherent, or it is not coherent" then obviously its going to be all or nothing justification. The problems in the premise.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by grumballcake)
    Which rather begs the question - is the existence of a belief system axiomatic?
    You mean is the belief in the existence of a belief system axiomatic? No, I don't see why it should be. It's justified by my other beliefs such as my belief in what truth is. Or my belief that I have beliefs. And my belief that many things which resemble each other can go to make up sets. And my belief that sets exist.

    (Original post by Grumballcake)

    To me, it looks like a language game. Coherentism tries to have the cake of pragmatism, without admitting that it's stolen. It does have axioms which it cannot actually do without, while maintaining that it could. Much like a smoker saying that he could give it up, but chooses not to.

    Let's run through a few known problems with coherentism:

    1. S believes p
    2. So, p must be in S's system of beliefs
    3. Thus, p must follow from S's system of beliefs
    4. So, S is justified in believing p.

    Circular? I think so, but it's all part of the problems of coherentism. However, let's push it even further:
    That's odd... I thought part of the point of coherentism was to avoid infinite regress of justification by making justification circular. I'll spare you my arguing that coherentism actually benefits from a heuristic view of justification. Suffice to say I don't really see it as a big problem.


    (Original post by Grumballcake)
    Either S's system of beliefs is coherent, or it is not coherent.
    If it's coherent, then for all p, S is justified in believing p.
    If it's not coherent, then for all p, S is not justified in believing p.

    The result? All or nothing justification. Is that absurd? Yes, it is.
    Not at all. Just because something is justified doesn't mean it is justified to the point of my adding it to my system of beliefs. There are always fringe beliefs jostling for position trying to get a more permanent place in my belief system. A belief might be justified by only one or two other beliefs which are themselves only justified by a couple more. Whereas others might be deducible from hundreds of my beliefs, perhaps removing them would decimate my belief system. Those are in a sense more justified not because they are in some way more deductively provable from my belief set but because they have a more essential place in my system. I think you're beating the crap out of a strawman.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by gezzar)
    You can make any belief coherent according to the preunderstood logic systems that have been adopted that substantiate that belief system.
    So you're arguing for circularity then? That is, you can adjust the rules of logic so that they make whatever you believe coherent? Isn't that a null system then? By that definition all systems are coherent - you simply adjust 'coherent' to mean whatever you require.
    my experience, especially with religion, is that questioning is associated with doubt, and therefore unbelief and therefore implies a subclass of religious expression.
    I'm not sure that the starting point is true. Questioning is part of the religious experience - only cults have certainty.
    [/QUOTE]
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by wanderer)
    Just to jump in on Coherentism's side - 3 following from 2 depends on the assumption that 'If p is in a system of beliefs, then p follows from that system of beliefs.'
    Yes, I think that's true. If p is to be coherent with a set of other beliefs than it must follow from the principle(s) used to establish coherence. Since coherentism asserts that there are no independent axioms, then the only thing that p can follow from is the set of beliefs themselves. If p cannot follow from the set of beliefs then it also cannot be coherent with them.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Calvin)
    I thought part of the point of coherentism was to avoid infinite regress of justification by making justification circular.
    Except that definition makes coherentism redundant. It isn't a system, nor can it provide justification (as shown). It's just a Mad Hatter's game where a word means what I want it to mean when I use it. The beliefs aren't coherent in any meaningful sense of the word. The only coherence is that you believe them.

    What you go on to describe as a system is much more like Plantinga's concept of warrant with a distinction between basic beliefs and others.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by grumballcake)
    So you're arguing for circularity then? That is, you can adjust the rules of logic so that they make whatever you believe coherent? Isn't that a null system then? By that definition all systems are coherent - you simply adjust 'coherent' to mean whatever you require.
    Obviously, not all systems are coherent, but many systems comport themselves to be coherent. So, those which are not coherent, are not justified. However, certain 'self-evident' things within that particular logic system will comport it to be coherent. Or in certain 'anti-intellectual' religious systems (such as Pentecostalism) they will say logic will only go so far, and appeal to some sort of pseudo-gnosticism where you can only 'know' something spiritually through estatic experiences, or by revelation preached from the pulpit (which need not be 'logical' per say since its true because so and so said so). Then again many belief systems use coherency as a matter for convience, as in they will appeal for it when it suits them, but when something which is obviously incoherent is in their belief system they either just stick their heads in the sand.

    (Original post by grumballcake)
    I'm not sure that the starting point is true. Questioning is part of the religious experience - only cults have certainty.
    I would agree that questioning is part of a genuine religious experience, in so much as you reflect on experiences (lonergan's 4 B's are an excellent example of a well thought out reflection on this very issue), but many so called mainstream christian religious movements make themselves out to be objectively certain. Cult like?? probably... but is it acceptable that they come to the same conclusions, even though the method is totally devoid of coherency or any sort of well reasoned logic? As i said my reflections were on my experiences and i'm not so naive to think that there are no genuine christian parishes or demoninations at large which encourages reflective questioning as part of religious experience.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by gezzar)
    Obviously, not all systems are coherent, but many systems comport themselves to be coherent.
    Yes, I think that's correct. My objection to coherentism as presented is that it denies any way of defining what constitutes a coherent system. I think we could come up with a working model of how it could be achieved, but I severely doubt that any real-world belief system would match up to it. From a theological viewpoint, no belief system could ever encompass God, since his transcendence makes such a venture impossible. We are living in a state where we only have partial knowledge as Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians.

    One issue is that it's quite possible to have sets of beliefs which overlap each other, but where the edges have nothing in common. Let's take a trivial example:

    Set A: Objects which are round and red
    Set B: Objects which are red and make a noise
    Set C: Objects which are square and make a noise

    Set A and C have no property in common (apart from being objects, I suppose) but overall, the set of categories appears sensible.
    Or in certain 'anti-intellectual' religious systems (such as Pentecostalism) they will say logic will only go so far, and appeal to some sort of pseudo-gnosticism where you can only 'know' something spiritually through estatic experiences, or by revelation preached from the pulpit (which need not be 'logical' per say since its true because so and so said so).
    Yes, I've been part of churches with that flavour and it's intensely irritating - God gave me a mind for a reason. However, they aren't entirely wrong - if God is transcendent then we can only appropriate him by means of revelation and he may also be outside the grasp of our logic. If God were comprehensible by a finite being, then he'd be so limited as to be unworshipable. We should expect that God would be bigger than any human system.
    mainstream christian religious movements make themselves out to be objectively certain.
    I'm not sure that's quite true. I have a moderately wide range of experience and while I've certainly seen that attitude in a few leaders, I'm not sure that it's that common in established movements. It wouldn't be true of either Anglicanism or Roman Catholicism, for example - two of the largest Christian movements world-wide. One of the problems of the AOG etc. is that they portray themselves as far more important than they really are.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by grumballcake)
    Except that definition makes coherentism redundant. It isn't a system, nor can it provide justification (as shown). It's just a Mad Hatter's game where a word means what I want it to mean when I use it. The beliefs aren't coherent in any meaningful sense of the word. The only coherence is that you believe them.

    The coherence is that they fit with a system of logic you use in your wider system. You haven't invented this logic especially for your system to make everything true, you have a system of logic that is general rather than tailored. That is, a standard rather than a meta-logic if that makes any sense.

    Of course, this isn't to say that any belief system with a seperate tailored system of logic is in any way objectively ruled out or prohibited. But so far as my and seemingly your belief systems seem to go such a logic would make such a system redundant so far as our notions of justification go.

    You dislike cohrentism I'm sure, but your objections seem to be on par with refuting subjectivism by pointing out that it isn't objective.

    As an aside:
    I'm beginning to think that perhaps I might struggle to distinguish between truth and jusitification on a coherentist system. I think I'm going to want to say that all beliefs are by psychological necessity justified in a sense. That is nobody can believe something without having some level of justification however arbitrary or weak. But then I'm going to have to better distinguish between justified and true because obviously I can't say that everything we believe is true. Anyway, I'll think on that and get back to you if I come up with anything intelligent.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by grumballcake)
    Yes, I think that's true. If p is to be coherent with a set of other beliefs than it must follow from the principle(s) used to establish coherence. Since coherentism asserts that there are no independent axioms, then the only thing that p can follow from is the set of beliefs themselves. If p cannot follow from the set of beliefs then it also cannot be coherent with them.
    You seem to be claiming that in coherentism, p being in a set of beliefs is synonymous with it being coherent with that set of beliefs. This isn't the case (people believing things still isn't the same as them being true), so your argument falls through.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by grumballcake)
    I'm not sure that's quite true. I have a moderately wide range of experience and while I've certainly seen that attitude in a few leaders, I'm not sure that it's that common in established movements. It wouldn't be true of either Anglicanism or Roman Catholicism, for example - two of the largest Christian movements world-wide. One of the problems of the AOG etc. is that they portray themselves as far more important than they really are.
    i suppose i've only had exposure to sydney anglicans, who sometimes are rather dogmatic

    as for epistelmology concerning the divine, certainly i'm not suggesting some sort of medieval scholasticism that says that God can be understood through nature and that sort of thing, but in a sense we can only know God in a human way since, after all, we are humans ... so i suppose what i am saying with pentecostalism is that we have another form of platonic dualism in place (i.e. spirit is good , material/flesh is evil), where anything from a intellectual or reasoning standpoint seen in an entirely negative light. That is changing (as my bible college is probably the best, though only example i can think of in australian pentecostalism) - but only in the small minority of pentecostals (more or less those who actually do have a religious experience, but actually are reflective or intellectual types who generally don't buy into the general sort of mere rhetoric which is served up).

    (Original post by Calvin)
    As an aside:
    I'm beginning to think that perhaps I might struggle to distinguish between truth and jusitification on a coherentist system. I think I'm going to want to say that all beliefs are by psychological necessity justified in a sense. That is nobody can believe something without having some level of justification however arbitrary or weak. But then I'm going to have to better distinguish between justified and true because obviously I can't say that everything we believe is true. Anyway, I'll think on that and get back to you if I come up with anything intelligent.
    incidently have you read anything on phenomeology? It delves into this sort of issue of psychological stuff in philosophy... good starting point would be Edmund Husserl if you get the chance (although logical investigations might be a bit much, cartesian mediations - introduction to phenomenology , might be a good start). Not that i'm an expert in phenomenology, but its something i'm reading into at the moment, and thought it might be worth suggesting something seemingly relevant into your thoughts on this matter
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    Never had much time for Phenomenlogy. I haven't read any Husserl though. I'll add it to my list of books that need checking out. Thanks
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Calvin)
    Never had much time for Phenomenlogy. I haven't read any Husserl though. I'll add it to my list of books that need checking out. Thanks
    That stuff you quoted from the beginning of 'Being and Nothingness' that you thought was obscure is prtially derived from Husserl - the book starts off by looking at phenomenology and builds on it.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Calvin)
    The coherence is that they fit with a system of logic you use in your wider system. You haven't invented this logic especially for your system to make everything true, you have a system of logic that is general rather than tailored.
    Doesn't that require that this system of logic is actually formed from other people's beliefs? If the logic is part of your own beliefs, then it's subject to the previous circularity and all-or-nothing problem. If it's a shared system, then your belief system actually has to cohere with that of others and it loses its self-dependence.
    You dislike cohrentism I'm sure, but your objections seem to be on par with refuting subjectivism by pointing out that it isn't objective.
    Well I'd say that I dislike it because it isn't coherent and adds no value to understanding.
    I'm beginning to think that perhaps I might struggle to distinguish between truth and jusitification on a coherentist system.
    I think so too, but I didn't like to say.

    My feeling is that we all operate in a dynamic equilibrium between shared beliefs and internal methods of justification. I don't think that it is necessarily coherent because of issues with mapping non-overlapping criteria. I have a lot of time for Plantinga's model of warrant.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by gezzar)
    form of platonic dualism in place (i.e. spirit is good , material/flesh is evil), where anything from a intellectual or reasoning standpoint seen in an entirely negative light.
    Yes, I've certainly seen that, but it tends to be a temporary phenomenon, particularly in new churches (including charismatics and pentecostals). There's a mistaken belief that theologians are wishy-washy and uncommitted, simply because they don't swallow improbable dogmas whole.

    The issue for believers is to recognise that many great and committed Christians did also manage to be competent thinkers. One problem with the revival movements is that they tend to be led by dogmatic types who often develop a cult of personality. This sometimes leads to impropriety which gets overlooked because the person is 'annointed'. As the initial fever (and phenomena subside) the whole thing tends to mature and return to more mainstream values.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by wanderer)
    You seem to be claiming that in coherentism, p being in a set of beliefs is synonymous with it being coherent with that set of beliefs. This isn't the case (people believing things still isn't the same as them being true)
    If they have things in their set of beliefs which are not coherent with that set of beliefs, then how can the set of beliefs be coherent at all?

    Let's take a parallel: if you have a set of odd numbers { 1, 3, 5, 7 } and you add the number 2 to that set, do you still have a set of odd numbers?

    I agree that you can have knowledge of things which aren't true, but anything you believe, must be true for you, mustn't it? If you didn't think something was true, why (or even how) would you believe it?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by grumballcake)
    One problem with the revival movements is that they tend to be led by dogmatic types who often develop a cult of personality.
    gotta love consumer religion :rolleyes:

    an order of the Holy Spirit? would you like fries with that?
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by grumballcake)
    If they have things in their set of beliefs which are not coherent with that set of beliefs, then how can the set of beliefs be coherent at all?

    Let's take a parallel: if you have a set of odd numbers { 1, 3, 5, 7 } and you add the number 2 to that set, do you still have a set of odd numbers?

    I agree that you can have knowledge of things which aren't true, but anything you believe, must be true for you, mustn't it? If you didn't think something was true, why (or even how) would you believe it?
    The set of beliefs isn't necessarily coherent - this is what I mean about you assuming all-or-nothing justification before you start. Theres still a difference between you thinking that something is true and it being true. Your belief system may have a degree of incoherence because of faulty reasoning on your part, or because some (or all) of your beliefs have more to do with faith/intuition/emotion/whatever than reasoning.

    As for your mathematical parallel, the defining quality of the set of beliefs is that you believe them - not the level of coherency. Say I add the number 9 - its still a set of odd numbers, but another fundamental property has changed, as they are no longer all primes (and I know 1 isn't technically a prime, but thats beside the point).
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by wanderer)
    The set of beliefs isn't necessarily coherent
    So what's the point of coherentism then? It presumes that one's belief set is coherent. If coherentism allowed an incoherent set of beliefs, then it could have no basis for judging other beliefs and we're back to the case where the word coherent becomes meaningless.
    Theres still a difference between you thinking that something is true and it being true. Your belief system may have a degree of incoherence because of faulty reasoning on your part, or because some (or all) of your beliefs have more to do with faith/intuition/emotion/whatever than reasoning.
    I agree, but you arenb't arguing about coherentism at that point. Coherentism is an idealist viewpoint which denies that reality exists as such. So how can a belief be true or false? That would imply that truth or falsehood could be axiomatically established. It seems that you keep trying to talk about common sense, not coherentism. I don't object to common sense.
    As for your mathematical parallel, the defining quality of the set of beliefs is that you believe them - not the level of coherency.
    I say again, we're talking about coherentism which does require that the set of beliefs be coherent. In that system, you are only justified in holding a belief iff it is coherent with your other beliefs.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by grumballcake)
    So what's the point of coherentism then? It presumes that one's belief set is coherent. If coherentism allowed an incoherent set of beliefs, then it could have no basis for judging other beliefs and we're back to the case where the word coherent becomes meaningless.
    It does allow an incoherent set of beliefs, it just claims that the less coherent it is, the less justified it is.

    (Original post by grumballcake)
    I agree, but you arenb't arguing about coherentism at that point. Coherentism is an idealist viewpoint which denies that reality exists as such. So how can a belief be true or false? That would imply that truth or falsehood could be axiomatically established. It seems that you keep trying to talk about common sense, not coherentism. I don't object to common sense.
    A belief is true or false to the extent that it is coherent - thats the point! I was talking very specifically about coherentism. What I said is valid.

    (Original post by grumballcake)
    I say again, we're talking about coherentism which does require that the set of beliefs be coherent. In that system, you are only justified in holding a belief iff it is coherent with your other beliefs.
    No, it doesn't. It judges a set of beliefs on their coherence, but it doesn't claim that a set of beliefs that doesn't cohere isn't a set of beliefs at all - which is what your 'set of odd numbers' example implied.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by wanderer)
    It does allow an incoherent set of beliefs, it just claims that the less coherent it is, the less justified it is.
    So, by what criteria does it establish coherence, without that system being axiomatic?
    A belief is true or false to the extent that it is coherent - thats the point! I was talking very specifically about coherentism. What I said is valid.
    Then it seems that you simply don't understand the problems. The narrative of Star Wars is coherent, but it is not true.
    It judges a set of beliefs on their coherence, but it doesn't claim that a set of beliefs that doesn't cohere isn't a set of beliefs at all - which is what your 'set of odd numbers' example implied.
    I think that's the point I have been making for some time. I agree that a set of beliefs doesn't have to be coherent from a non-coherentist's viewpoiint. The empiricist will have beliefs based upon evidence, for example, and will accord justification based upon the evidential support.

    However, the coherentist is saying that you can only believe things which are coherent with your set of beliefs. If you don't believe it, then it isn't in your set of beliefs. If it is to be in that set then a) you must believe it and b) it must therefore be coherent with your other beliefs. Now, belief sets can be complex and people have argued that coherentism is a holistic system and that you don't have a foundational chain from some basic beliefs. The problem is how one establishes coherence from the existing set. If you belive p, q, r s and t, what happens if a new belief x coheres with p, q and s, but doesn't with r and t? You can argue that it can be believed but it less justified in that belief. However, this means that beliefs have different levels of warrant and leads us inescapably back to Plantinga's concept of basic beliefs.
 
 
 
Turn on thread page Beta
Updated: September 14, 2010
Poll
Do you think parents should charge rent?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.