Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Carl Ginet, Erik J. Olsson and L.A. Paul

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8 ideas

13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 1. Justification / a. Justification issues
Must all justification be inferential? [Ginet]
     Full Idea: The infinitist view of justification holds that every justification must be inferential: no other kind of justification is possible.
     From: Carl Ginet (Infinitism not solution to regress problem [2005], p.141)
     A reaction: This is the key question in discussing whether justification is foundational. I'm not sure whether 'inference' is the best word when something is evidence for something else. I am inclined to think that only propositions can be reasons.
Inference cannot originate justification, it can only transfer it from premises to conclusion [Ginet]
     Full Idea: Inference cannot originate justification, it can only transfer it from premises to conclusion. And so it cannot be that, if there actually occurs justification, it is all inferential.
     From: Carl Ginet (Infinitism not solution to regress problem [2005], p.148)
     A reaction: The idea that justification must have an 'origin' seems to beg the question. I take Klein's inifinitism to be a version of coherence, where the accumulation of good reasons adds up to justification. It is not purely inferential.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / a. Coherence as justification
Incoherence may be more important for enquiry than coherence [Olsson]
     Full Idea: While coherence may lack the positive role many have assigned to it, ...incoherence plays an important negative role in our enquiries.
     From: Erik J. Olsson (Against Coherence [2005], 10.1)
     A reaction: [He cites Peirce as the main source for this idea] We can hardly by deeply impressed by incoherence if we have no sense of coherence. Incoherence is just one of many markers for theory failure. Missing the target, bad concepts...
Coherence is the capacity to answer objections [Olsson]
     Full Idea: According to Lehrer, coherence should be understood in terms of the capacity to answer objections.
     From: Erik J. Olsson (Against Coherence [2005], 9)
     A reaction: [Keith Lehrer 1990] We can connect this with the Greek requirement of being able to give an account [logos], which is the hallmark of understanding. I take coherence to be the best method of achieving understanding. Any understanding meets Lehrer's test.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / c. Coherentism critique
Mere agreement of testimonies is not enough to make truth very likely [Olsson]
     Full Idea: Far from guaranteeing a high likelihood of truth by itself, testimonial agreement can apparently do so only if the circumstances are favourable as regards independence, prior probability, and individual credibility.
     From: Erik J. Olsson (Against Coherence [2005], 1)
     A reaction: This is Olson's main thesis. His targets are C.I.Lewis and Bonjour, who hoped that a mere consensus of evidence would increase verisimilitude. I don't see a problem for coherence in general, since his favourable circumstances are part of it.
Coherence is only needed if the information sources are not fully reliable [Olsson]
     Full Idea: An enquirer who is fortunate enough to have at his or her disposal fully reliable information sources has no use for coherence, the need for which arises only in the context of less than fully reliable informations sources.
     From: Erik J. Olsson (Against Coherence [2005], 2.6.2)
     A reaction: I take this to be entirely false. How do you assess reliability? 'I've seen it with my own eyes'. Why trust your eyes? In what visibility conditions do you begin to doubt your eyes? Why do rational people mistrust their intuitions?
A purely coherent theory cannot be true of the world without some contact with the world [Olsson]
     Full Idea: The Input Objection says a pure coherence theory would seem to allow that a system of beliefs be justified in spite of being utterly out of contact with the world it purports to describe, so long as it is, to a sufficient extent, coherent.
     From: Erik J. Olsson (Against Coherence [2005], 4.1)
     A reaction: Olson seems impressed by this objection, but I don't see how a system could be coherently about the world if it had no known contact with the world. Olson seems to ignore meta-coherence, which evaluates the status of the system being studied.
Extending a system makes it less probable, so extending coherence can't make it more probable [Olsson]
     Full Idea: Any non-trivial extension of a belief system is less probable than the original system, but there are extensions that are more coherent than the original system. Hence more coherence does not imply a higher probability.
     From: Erik J. Olsson (Against Coherence [2005], 6.4)
     A reaction: [Olson cites Klein and Warfield 1994; compressed] The example rightly says the extension could have high internal coherence, but not whether the extension is coherent with the system being extended.