The input objection: Bane of coherence theory
Cleveland, Wesley M.
Grandy, Richard E.
Master of Arts
A pure coherence theory of empirical justification claims that the justification of empirical beliefs is based solely on internal relations. This claim gives rise to the input objection, which states that pure coherentism allows empirical justification to be cut off from the world. Laurence BonJour and Michael Williams attempt to rebut the input objection. BonJour does so by means of cognitively spontaneous beliefs. The arguments for these beliefs are, however, fraught with too many difficulties for the notion of cognitively spontaneous beliefs to be tenable. Williams challenges the input objection by means of a dilemma, claiming that either the input objection is unintelligible, or epistemic beliefs provide the pure coherentist with a ready answer to the objection. The dilemma is unsuccessful since it fails to take into account all of the plausible conceptions of the world that are available. The input objection therefore remains a problem with which these coherentists must wrestle.