Welcome, truth seeker
People are quick to point out that defining knowledge as "necessary assumption" does not link knowledge to truth, and that such a link is necessary if epistemology is to have a solid foundation. But in fact, no such link is available – at least to creatures locked in the dimensions we're locked in. Necessary assumption is simply the best definition available (Please prove me wrong !), and therefore the soundest foundation possible to Earthlings.
There exists, however, a class of people who assert that no foundation is necessary – that epistemology, in fact knowledge itself, can simply float in abstract space. These people are called epistemological coherentists, because they focus on the mutual coherence of propositions rather than on their individual correspondence to reality. Despite this irrelevance to reality, coherentists attract intelligent people whom I would love to trash, if only I could prove them wrong.
Knowledge may float in nothing. But even if it floats, it floats on a floating foundation. There remains a core of premises which are most solid, upon which less solid premises are built. Epistemological coherentists deny this, insisting that no core exists, but only a web of interdependent premises – admitting some to be more reliable than others. They are then free to disagree on the rules by which these premises interrelate – thus leaving nothing but epistemic mush for us truth seekers to wade through. Rather than build a knowledge base on a stable core, they flit happily about in opinion-mist like flying insects, nevertheless finding enough surface tension on the mush to occasionally rest on it (rather in it) as long as they don't put too much weight on any one or two feet.
Having booted out the nihilists and counterfeits, I wish I could do the same to the coherentists. Unfortunately, they are embarrassingly useful. Coherentists are excellent for pointing out flaws in a structure, though rarely able to suggest ways to improve it. Nor can they replace it with anything that isn't even more flawed. I am forced to a position of grudging tolerance.
How many epistemological coherentists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Confident of offending only those who deserve it, I invite the rest to proceed.
one to hold the bulb, one to hold the socket, and one to hold the coherentists so they don't spin in opposite directions.