Spontaneous Anomalystic Phenomena, Pragmatic Information and Formal Representations of Uncertainty

Axiomathes 21 (2):287-301 (2011)
Abstract
I discuss the application of the Model of Pragmatic Information to the study of spontaneous anomalystic mental phenomena like telepathy, precognition, etc. In these phenomena the most important effects are related to anomalous information gain by the subjects. I consider the basic ideas of the Model, as they have been applied to experimental anomalystic phenomena and to spontaneous phenomena that have strong physical effects, like poltergeist cases, highlighting analogies and differences. Moreover, I point out that in such cases we cannot assign a probability of being accepted to every proposition, and so we cannot use standard formulas for pragmatic information and other relevant measures. To overcome the problem, I propose that qualitative possibility theory could be used to describe the situation. In such theory, the confidence in a proposition is expressed using a scale. Basic concepts like epistemic states, belief revision, information gain, pragmatic information etc. are discussed in this frame. Finally an application to some specific cases is sketched
Keywords Anomalystic phenomena  Pragmatic information  Uncertainty representation  Possibility theory  Belief revision
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