Is a coherence theory of understanding possible?

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THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, ISSN: 0495-4548, Vol: 30, Issue: 1, Page: 53-71

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Gijsbers, Victor
UPV/EHU Press; Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del PaĆ­s Vasco
Arts and Humanities
article description
Coherence is a measure of how much our beliefs hang together. Understanding is achieved when we see that something is not just a brute, isolated fact. This suggests that it might be possible to use the extant probabilistic measures of coherence to formulate a measure of understanding. We attempt to do so, but it turns out that a coherence theory runs into trouble with the asymmetry of understanding. We identify four difficulties and show how they have been solved by a unification approach to explanation. We also identify four advantages of the coherence approach, and assess the possibilities of reconciling the strengths of the two approaches.