Australasian Cognitive Science Conference



My paper has been accepted as a paper for the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science’s conference.

TITLE:  Defending confirmational chorism against holism: Limited coherence and coordination as sources of epistemic justification.    

KEYWORDS: coherence, coordination, epistemology


This paper examines the role of coherence as a source of epistemic justification, particularly the argument that all beliefs must cohere within one’s ‘web of belief’, aka confirmational holism. Confirmational holism runs across a potentially devastating argument that a more coherent set of beliefs resulting from the addition of a belief to a less coherent set of beliefs is less likely to be true than the less coherent set of beliefs. I propose confirmational chorism (CC) to avoid this troubling outcome. CC posits that coherence adds epistemic justification by limited, logically consistent sets of beliefs exhibiting a satisficing degree of strength, inferential and explanatory connection. Limited coherence may resolve the above argument, but raises the need for another kind of justification: coordination (integration across sets of beliefs). Belief coordination requires suppressing some beliefs and communicating other beliefs to ensure convergence on the right action for performance success. Thus, a belief in any particular context is justified not just because it is reliably formed and coherent, but also because of how it is coordinated between local and holistic goals.


Cognitive Decision Scientist

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S. Kate Devitt

Research Associate, Institute for Future Environments and the Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology