Saturday, September 18, 2004

The tragedy of coherentism

According to coherentist theories of justification, a belief is justified if it is consistent with the other things you believe. An unfortunate characteristic of these theories is that an entirely false set of beliefs can come out justified, if the beliefs are consistent with each other. Here's an illustration from a National Guard member who heard Kerry criticize Bush for misleading America about Iraqi WMDs:

"What he was saying about George Bush not telling the truth on Iraq - I just don't believe that. George Bush did tell us the truth, so I guess I couldn't believe what Kerry was saying."

That's why stories about the absence of Iraqi WMDs are still worth printing.

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