Coherence and Knowability

The Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):960-978 (2022)
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Why should we avoid incoherence? An influential view tells us that incoherent combinations of attitudes are such that it is impossible for all of those attitudes to be simultaneously vindicated by the evidence. But it is not clear whether this view successfully explains what is wrong with certain akratic doxastic states. In this paper I flesh out an alternative response to that question, one according to which the problem with incoherent combinations of attitudes is that it is impossible for all of those attitudes to be simultaneously knowledgeable. This alternative response explains what is wrong with akratic combinations of attitudes using commonly accepted epistemological theses. The paper still shows how this proposal is able to explain the badness of incoherent combinations involving the absence of attitudes, suspended judgment and credence. These explanations deploy the notions of knowledge and being in a position to know, instead of the notion of responding properly to the evidence. Finally, I suggest that this picture can be generalized to the realm of practical rationality as well.

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Luis Rosa
University of Cologne


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