Journal of Philosophy of Life

An international peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to the philosophy of life, death, and nature, supported by the Research Institute for Environmental Philosophy and Philosophical Anthropology, Osaka Prefecture University


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Metz’ Incoherence Objection
: Some Epistemological Considerations

Nicholas Waghorn

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.5, No.3 (October 2015):150-168



In his Meaning in Life, Thaddeus Metz puts a certain argument – the ‘incoherence objection’ – to a number of different uses. The incoherence objection states that attempts to establish knowledge of the truth of certain conditionals will, in conjunction with some uncontroversial knowledge claims, commit us to decidedly controversial ones. Given that we do not wish to be so committed, it follows that we cannot claim to know the truth of those conditionals. This article seeks to examine some of the underlying epistemological assumptions of such an argument, raising potential problems to work on and locating areas where the argument might be refined or clarified. Although the considerations raised are for the most part general, specific issues concerning epistemic transmission principles are canvassed as regards the argument’s application to a particular view of life’s meaning associated with John Cottingham.

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