Graduate studies at Western
Journal of Philosophical Research 35:89-105 (2010)
|Abstract||Richard Jeffrey developed the formula for probability kinematics with the intent that it would show that strong foundations are epistemologically unnecessary. But the reasons that support strong foundationalism are considerations of dynamics rather than kinematics. The strong foundationalist is concerned with the origin of epistemic force; showing how epistemic force is propagated therefore cannot undermine his position. The weakness of personalism is evident in the difficulty the personalist has in giving a principled answer to the question of when the conditions for the application of the kinematic formula—the rigidity of the posteriors—are fulfilled, a problem made intractable by the personalist commitment to treating changes in intermediate probability as unexplained surds. Because the strong foundationalist admits changes in the intermediate probability of propositions only when there is some change in the foundations, he can avail himself of ananswer to the problem of the rigidity of the posteriors which the personalist cannot regard as complete. While probability kinematics does not make certain foundations unnecessary, the possession of certain foundations also does not make the probability kinematics formula superfluous. The formula allowsus to model the indirect routes by which the foundations influence various non-foundational propositions in the probability distribution|
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