Coherence & Isolation
Coherence theories of justification seem to be plagued by a problem of isolation, which says that mere internal coherence within a belief system leaves the system more or less disconnected from reality. Prima facie a system could after all be completely coherent with itself and yet have nothing to do with the world. In this paper I have tried to offer a solution to this problem by introducing so called mediating states, which simply are mental states that mediate between the system and the world by providing input to a greater or lesser extent. I discuss what properties these mediating states should optimally have while examining and comparing three different ways of construing them, offered by Bonjour's cognitively spontaneous beliefs, Kvanvig & Riggs appearance states and Elgin's deliverances. We see that all of these manage to solve the isolation problem to a certain extent, but that they are problematic in some respects. I discuss these problems and finally put forward my own suggestion, which has many similarities to Bonjour's. It amends what seems to be one of its faults and adopts/reformulates its Observation Requirement to a relatively straightforward form. Thereby I think a potential solution to the problem of isolation is provided.