Re: Explanatory coherence

Bill Benzon (
Thu, 31 Jul 1997 06:29:17 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 06:29:17 -0500
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Re: Explanatory coherence

If Price:
>>Now, if one starts thinking of explanatory coherence as a selective force,
>one could begin to see Thagard's theory as an evolutionary one -- though he
>would certainly resist the notion (he explicitly critiques David Hull at
>one point and asserts that his computational view is superior to the
>evolutionary analogy).
>It's a substantive and impressive piece of work.>
>1. Bill it seem so. Is there a summary on-line somewhere.

I don't think so, but Thagard has a website with full text of some recent
Here's the URL:

>3. Why shouldn't explanatory coherence be one of the selective forces in
>'belief about the world' memes. After all expanatory coherence, if I
>understand your precis of Thagard correctly, could be said to be a factor
>in the survival or otherwise of religous memes. Monotheism had less trouble
>with early astronomy than did polytheism for example.
I certainly do think it is an explanatory force, & that it acts on religion
too. But in my crazy backwards version of cultural evolution, I think
explanatory coherence works as a selective force on cultural phenotypes,
not on memes. Coherence is a function of the interaction between multiple
pieces of evidence, hypotheses, and explanations.

William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

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