Coherentism is the name given to certain philosophical theories in modern epistemology. There are two distinct types of coherentism. One is the coherence theory of truth; the other, the coherence theory of justification. The coherentist theory of justification characterizes epistemic justification as a property of a belief only if that belief is a member of a coherent set. What distinguishes coherentism from other theories of justification is that the set is the primary bearer of justification. As an epistemological theory, coherentism opposes foundationalism and infinitism and attempts to offer a solution to the regress argument. In this epistemological capacity, it is a theory about how belief can be justified. Coherentism is a view about the structure of justification or knowledge. The coherentist's thesis is normally formulated in terms of a denial of its contrary foundationalism. Coherentism thus claims, minimally, that not all knowledge and justified belief rest ultimately on a foundation of noninferential knowledge or justified belief.
This negative construal of coherentism occurs because of the prominence of the regress problem in the history of epistemology, and the long-held assumption that only foundationalism provides an adequate, non-skeptical solution to that problem. After responding to the regress problem by denying foundationalism, coherentists normally characterize their view positively by replacing the foundationalism metaphor of a building as a model for the structure of knowledge with different metaphors, such as the metaphor which models our knowledge on a ship at sea whose seaworthiness must be ensured by repairs to any part in need of it. Coherentists typically hold that justification is solely a function of some relationship between beliefs, none of which are privileged beliefs in the way maintained by foundationalists, with different varieties of coherentism individuated by the specific relationship among beliefs identified as coherence.
Other articles related to "coherentism, justification":
... Coherentism Justified beliefs are all evidentially supported by other beliefs, but an infinite set of beliefs is not generated, because the chains of evidential support among beliefs is allowed to ... Conditional Theory of Justification A belief is justified by a set of beliefs ... However this justification operates conditionally, as it depends on the truth of the justifying beliefs ...