In this paper, we explore Peirce's work for insights into a theory of learning and cognition for education. Our focus for this exploration is Peirce's paper The Fixation of Belief (FOB), originally published in 1877 in Popular Science Monthly. We begin by examining Peirce's assertion that the study of logic is essential for understanding thought and reasoning. We explicate Peirce's view of the nature of reasoning itself—the characteristic guiding principles or ‘habits of mind’ that underlie acts of inference, the (...) dimensions of and interaction between doubt and belief, and his four methods of resolving or ‘fixing’ belief (i.e., tenacity, authority, a priori, and experimentation). The four methods are then juxtaposed against current models of teaching and learning such as constructivism, schema theory, situated cognition, and inquiry learning. Finally, we discuss Peirce's modes of inference as they relate educationally to the resolution of doubt and beliefs and offer an example of belief resolution from an experienced teacher in a professional development environment. (shrink)
Isaac Levi's new book is concerned with how one can justify changing one's beliefs. The discussion is deeply informed by the belief-doubt model advocated by C. S. Peirce and John Dewey, of which the book provides a substantial analysis. Professor Levi then addresses the conceptual framework of potential changes available to an inquirer. A structural approach to propositional attitudes is proposed which rejects the conventional view that a propositional attitude involves a relation between an agent and either a (...) linguistic entity or some other intentional object such as a proposition or set of possible worlds. The last two chapters offer an account of change in states of full belief understood as changes in commitments rather than changes in performance; one chapter deals with adding new information to a belief state, the other with giving up information. The book builds upon topics discussed in some of Levi's earlier work. It will be of particular interest to discussion theorists, epistemologists, philosophers of science, computer scientists, and cognitive psychologists. (shrink)
From an ethnomethodological perspective, this article describes social actors’ everyday and virtual stances in terms of their practices of provisional doubt and belief for the purpose of fact-establishment. Facts are iterated, reinforced, elaborated, and transformed via phenomenal practices configuring relations of equipment, interpretation, and method organized as “other” than, but relevant to, the everyday. Such practices in scientific research involve forms of suspended belief; in other areas they can instead involve forms of suspended doubt. As an (...) illuminating example of this latter class of virtual fact-establishment practices, I offer an extended analysis of the “yes; and…” principle of information-establishment used in improvisational theatre to progressively develop the content of a performance. (shrink)
Doxastic voluntarism maintains that we have voluntary control over our beliefs. It is generally denied by contemporary philosophers. I argue that doxastic voluntarism is true: normally, and insofar as we are rational, we are able to suspend belief and, provided we have a natural inclination to believe, we are able to rescind that suspension, and thus to choose to believe. I show that the arguments that have been offered against doxastic voluntarism fail; and that, if the denial of doxastic (...) voluntarism is part of a strategy to defeat scepticism, it is inept, because knowledge presupposes doubt. (shrink)
Philosophers have long been concerned about what we know and how we know it. Increasingly, however, a related question has gained prominence in philosophical discussion: what should we believe and why? This volume brings together twelve new essays that address different aspects of this question. The essays examine foundational questions about reasons for belief, and use new research on reasons for belief to address traditional epistemological concerns such as knowledge, justification and perceptually acquired beliefs. This book will be (...) of interest to philosophers working on epistemology, theoretical reason, rationality, perception and ethics. It will also be of interest to cognitive scientists and psychologists who wish to gain deeper insight into normative questions about belief and knowledge. (shrink)
This is one of the seminal articles of the pragmatist tradition where C.S. Peirce sets out his doctrine of doubt and belief --and their relationship to inquiry and clarity of our concepts. Originally published in the Popular Science Monthly; and widely available in reprints and collections of Peirce's writings.
What role, if any, does formal logic play in characterizing epistemically rational belief? Traditionally, belief is seen in a binary way - either one believes a proposition, or one doesn't. Given this picture, it is attractive to impose certain deductive constraints on rational belief: that one's beliefs be logically consistent, and that one believe the logical consequences of one's beliefs. A less popular picture sees belief as a graded phenomenon.
Modality, morality and belief are among the most controversial topics in philosophy today, and few philosophers have shaped these debates as deeply as Ruth Barcan Marcus. Inspired by her work, a distinguished group of philosophers explore these issues, refine and sharpen arguments and develop new positions on such topics as possible worlds, moral dilemmas, essentialism, and the explanation of actions by beliefs. This 'state of the art' collection honours one of the most rigorous and iconoclastic of philosophical pioneers.
This book provides a formal ontology of senses and the belief-relation that grounds the distinction between de dicto, de re, and de se beliefs as well as the opacity of belief reports. According to this ontology, the relata of the belief-relation are an agent and a special sort of object-dependent sense (a "thought-content"), the latter being an "abstract" property encoding various syntactic and semantic constraints on sentences of a language of thought. One bears the belief-relation to (...) a thought-content T just in case one (is disposed as one who) inwardly affirms a certain sentence S of one’s language of thought that satisfies what T encodes, which in turn requires that S’s non-logical parts stand in appropriate semantical relations to items specified by T. Since these items may include other senses as well as ordinary objects, beliefs of arbitrary complexity are automatically accommodated. Within the framework of the formal ontology, a context-dependent compositional semantics is then provided for a fragment of regimented English capable of formulating ascriptions of belief—a semantics that treats substitutional opacity as a genuine semantic datum. Finally, the resulting picture of belief and its attribution is defended by showing how it solves standard puzzles, avoids objections to rival accounts, and satisfies certain adequacy conditions not fulfilled by traditional theories. Along the way, clarification and defense is offered for the ingredient conception of object-dependent senses, and it is shown how adoption of the language of thought hypothesis permits Bertrand Russell’s obscure doctrine of logical forms to be understood in a way that not only vindicates his Multiple Relation theory of de re belief but also reveals the connection between these logical forms and thought-contents. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of original essays by eminent philosophers written for R. B. Braithwaite's eightieth birthday to celebrate his work and teaching. In one way or another, all the essays reflect his central concern with the impact of science on our beliefs about the world and the responses appropriate to that. Together they testify to the signal importance of his contributions in areas of philosophy bearing on this concern: the philosophy of science, especially of the statistical sciences, theories (...) of belief and of probability, decision theory and games theory. This book, which includes a full bibliography of Professor Braithwaite's work, will interest advanced students and professionals in the fields of philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
In Knowledge and Belief, Frederick Schmitt explores the nature and value of knowledge and justified belief through an examination of the dispute between epistemological internalism and externalism. Knowledge and justified belief are naturally viewed as belief of a sort likely to be true--an externalist view. It is also intuitive, however, to view them as an internal matter; justification must be accessible to the subject or constituted by the subject's epistemic perspective. The author argues against the view (...) that internalism is the historically dominant epistemology by examining closely the epistemological principles that underlie the treatment of skepticism in Plato, the Academic and Pyrrhonian skeptics, Descartes and Hume. Schmitt develops a sustained, detailed argument against many forms of internalism in favor of a reliabilist/externalist epistemology. His version of reliabilism, though strictly externalist, accommodates and explains the most durable intuitions alleged to support internalism. Knowledge and Belief assumes no knowledge of epistemology or its history. Readers of philosophy will find this an excellent introduction to ancient and modern epistemology; this systematic study of the internalist and externalist debate is the first of its kind. (shrink)
In this book, Timothy J. Madigan examines the continuing relevance of "The Ethics of Belief" to epistemological and ethical concerns. He places the essay within the historical context, especially the so-called 'Victorian Crisis of Faith' of which Clifford was a key player. Clifford's own life and interests are dealt with as well, along with the responses to his essay by his contemporaries, the most famous of which was William James's "The Will to Believe." Madigan provides an overview of modern-day (...) critics of Cliffordian evidentialism, as well as examining thinkers who were positively influenced by him, including Bertrand Russell, who was perhaps Clifford's most influential successor as an advocate of intellectual honesty. (shrink)
What happens to our supposedly atheistic, secular beliefs when they meet the internet, consumerism and New Age mysticism? Zizek, the renowned philosopher and cultural critic, shows in his controversial and witty new book that, despite postmodern warnings that belief is groundless, we are secretly believers. From "cyberspace reason" to the paradox of "Western Buddhism," On Belief traces the contours of the often unconscious beliefs that structure our daily experience.
In recent years there has been a great deal of interaction among game theorists, philosophers, and logicians in certain foundational problems concerning rationality, the formalization of knowledge and practical reasoning, and models of learning and deliberation. This unique volume brings together the work of some of the preeminent figures in their respective disciplines, all of whom are engaged in research at the forefront of their fields. Together they offer a conspectus of the interaction of game theory, logic, and epistemology in (...) the formal models of knowledge, belief, deliberation, and learning and in the relationship between Bayesian decision theory and game theory, as well as between bounded rationality and computational complexity. (shrink)
How do we form and modify our beliefs about the world? It is widely accepted that what we believe is determined by evidence, and is therefore not directly under our control; but according to what criteria is the credibility of the evidence established? Professor Helm argues that no theory of knowledge is complete without standards for accepting and rejecting evidence as belief-worthy. These standards, or belief-policies, are not themselves determined by evidence, but determine what counts as credible evidence. (...) Unlike single beliefs, belief-policies are directly subject to the will, and therefore to the possibility of weakness of will and self-deception. Helm sets out to interpret standard epistemological positions in terms of belief-policies, and to illustrate their operation in the history of philosophy. He establishes connections between belief-policies, responsibility for beliefs, and the desirability of toleration, before reassessing fideism in the light of his argument. (shrink)
Isaac Levi's new book develops further his pioneering work in formal epistemology, focusing on the problem of belief contraction, or how rationally to relinquish old beliefs. Levi offers the most penetrating analysis to date of this key question in epistemology, offering a completely new solution and explaining its relation to his earlier proposals. He mounts an argument in favor of the thesis that contracting a state of belief by giving up specific beliefs is to be evaluated in terms (...) of the value of the information lost by doing so. The rationale aims to be thoroughly decision theoretic. Levi spells out his goals and shows that certain types of recommendations are obtained if one seeks to promote these goals. He compares his approach to his earlier account of inductive expansion. The recommendations are for "mild contractions." These are formally the same as the "severe withdrawals" considered by Pagnucco and Rott. The rationale, however, is different. A critical part of the book concerns the elaboration of these differences. The results are relevant to accounts of the conditions under which it is legitimate to cease believing and to accounts of conditionals. Mild Contraction will be of great interest to all specialists in belief revision theory and to many students of formal epistemology, philosophy of science, and pragmatism. (shrink)
Are any of our beliefs justified? Are they rational? The skeptic thinks that our epistemic justifications are undeserved. Nicholas Nathan confronts the skeptic and questions the value of his argument. Skeptical arguments are against justified and rational belief as well as for ignorance. Nathan argues that the truth value of trivial arguments are a matter of indifference. He tests this conjecture with a varied collection of counterexamples: arguments for ignorance, neo-Cartesian and infinite regress arguments, and also more critically with (...) arguments against justified and rational belief. (shrink)
The article will argue that Charles Sanders Peirce's concepts of the ?Dynamics of Belief and Doubt?, the ?Fixation of Belief? as well as ?habits of belief? taken together comprise a theory of learning. The ?dynamics of belief and doubt? are Peirce's explanation for the process of changing from one belief to another. Teaching, then, would be an attempt to control that process. Teaching critical thinking represents an attempt to teach the learner to regulate (...) and discipline his or her own ?settlement of belief?. The ?settlement of belief? takes four different forms based on doubt. Peirce's concept of the ?habits of belief? refers to the inner and outer constraints placed both on belief as such and belief as it becomes action. The article may be read as both an exegesis of learning and as a pedagogical guide for teaching critical thinking to college students. (shrink)
Truth and the aim of belief -- Belief, interpretation, and Moore's paradox -- Belief, sensitivity, and safety -- Basic beliefs and the problem of non-doxastic justification -- Experience as reason for beliefs -- The problem of the basing relation -- Basic beliefs, easy knowledge, and the problem of warrant transfer -- Belief, justification, and fallibility -- Knowledge of our beliefs and privileged access.
Charting the development of the British tradition of naturalism from the 17th to the 19th century, this book provides fascinating insight into a wide range of thinkers, both Catholic and Protestant, who explored the themes of proof, practice, and the role of common sense. Reappraising what these thinkers can teach us about the relations between belief, action, and skepticism, Ferreira contributes to the philosophical study of naturalist replies to skepticism, as well as to a deeper appreciation of this particular (...) segment of British intellectual history. (shrink)
First published in 1986, Knowledge, Belief, and Witchcraft remains the only analysis of indigenous discourse about an African belief system undertaken from within the framework of Anglo-American analytical philosophy. Taking as its point of departure W. V. O. Quine's thesis about the indeterminacy of translation, the book investigates questions of Yoruba epistemology and of how knowledge is conceived in an oral culture.
THE GROUNDS OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF MAY BE VARIOUS, AND SUCH GROUNDS ARE ASSESSABLE BY BOTH BELIEVER AND NON-BELIEVER; BUT THE ARTICULATION OF SUCH GROUNDS IS, THOUGH A PROPER ONE, AN AVOIDABLE TOPIC FOR THE BELIEVER AND THE PHILOSOPHER. (BP, EDITED).
Introduction -- In the beginning : it's all in the program -- Symbols and agreements : the art of humans -- The story of you : the first agreement : be impeccable with your word -- Every mind is a world : the second agreement : don't take anything personally -- Truth or fiction : the third agreement : don't make assumptions -- The power of belief : the symbol of Santa Claus -- Practice makes the master : the (...) fourth agreement : always do your best -- The power of doubt : the fifth agreement : be skeptical, but learn to listen -- The dream of the first attention : the victims -- The dream of the second attention : the warriors -- The dream of the third attention : the masters -- Becoming a seer : a new point of view -- The three languages : what kind of messenger are you? -- Epilogue: Help me to change the world. (shrink)
This is a 'state of the art' collection of essays on the relation between probabilities, especially conditional probabilities, and conditionals. It provides new negative results which sharply limit the ways conditionals can be related to conditional probabilities. There are also positive ideas and results which will open up new areas of research. The collection is intended to honour Ernest W. Adams, whose seminal work is largely responsible for creating this area of inquiry. As well as describing, evaluating, and applying Adams' (...) work the contributions extend his ideas in directions he may or may not have anticipated, but that he certainly inspired. In addition to a wide range of philosophers of science, the volume should interest computer scientists and linguists. (shrink)
The purpose of this book is to develop a framework for analyzing strategic rationality, a notion central to contemporary game theory, which is the formal study of the interaction of rational agents, and which has proved extremely fruitful in economics, political theory, and business management. The author argues that a logical paradox (known since antiquity as "the Liar paradox") lies at the root of a number of persistent puzzles in game theory, in particular those concerning rational agents who seek to (...) establish some kind of reputation. Building on the work of Parsons, Burge, Gaifman, and Barwise and Etchemendy, Robert Koons constructs a context-sensitive solution to the whole family of Liar-like paradoxes, including, for the first time, a detailed account of how the interpretation of paradoxial statements is fixed by context. This analysis provides a new understanding of how the rational agent model can account for the emergence of rules, practices, and institutions. (shrink)
This short book is a lively dialogue between a religious believer and a skeptic. It covers all the main issues including different ideas of God, the good and bad in religion, religious experience and neuroscience, pain and suffering, death and life after death, and includes interesting autobiographical revelations.