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Theory of truth according to which a belief is true just in case, or to the extent that, it coheres with a system of other beliefs. Philosophers have differed over the relevant sense of cohere, though most agree that it must be stronger than mere consistency. Among rival theories of truth, perhaps the oldest is the correspondence theory, which holds that the truth of a belief consists in its correspondence with independently existing facts. In epistemology, coherentism contrasts with foundationalism, which asserts that ordinary beliefs are justified if they are inferrable from a set of basic beliefs that are justified immediately or directly. Coherentism often has been combined with the idealist doctrine that reality consists of, or is knowable only through, ideas or judgments (seeidealism).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on coherentism, visit Britannica.com.
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