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The Inquiring OrganizationHow Organizations Acquire Knowledge and Seek Information$
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Chun Wei Choo

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199782031

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199782031.001.0001

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Justifying Belief

Justifying Belief

The Pyramid, the Raft, and the Crossword Puzzle

(p.25) 2 Justifying Belief
The Inquiring Organization

Chun Wei Choo

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the question, How do organizations justify their beliefs? Organizations are truth-seeking in that they seek beliefs which are adequately supported by reasoning, evidence, and experience. The chapter shows how standard theories of belief justification illuminate two key dynamics of organizational belief-forming. First, organizations tend to preserve or protect basic beliefs that they take to be foundational to organizational identity (the pyramid metaphor). Second, organizations tend to do what they can to maintain the coherence of their belief systems, often seeking to repair incoherence rather than agreeing to abandon existing beliefs (the raft metaphor). A third metaphor, that of filling out a crossword puzzle, shows how successful justification simultaneously requires satisfying foundationalist and coherentist conditions—that beliefs are appropriately derived from experience, and that beliefs fit coherently with a network of other beliefs.

Keywords:   belief justification, foundationalism, coherentism, justification, beliefs network

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