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Profile: Igor Douven
  1. Igor Douven (2006). Assertion, Knowledge, and Rational Credibility. Philosophical Review 115 (4):449-485.
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  2.  79
    Igor Douven & Wouter Meijs (2007). Measuring Coherence. Synthese 156 (3):405 - 425.
    This paper aims to contribute to our understanding of the notion of coherence by explicating in probabilistic terms, step by step, what seem to be our most basic intuitions about that notion, to wit, that coherence is a matter of hanging or fitting together, and that coherence is a matter of degree. A qualitative theory of coherence will serve as a stepping stone to formulate a set of quantitative measures of coherence, each of which seems to capture well the aforementioned (...)
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  3. Robert Halliday, Rod Nicholls, Mark Wynn, Nick Trakakis, Yujin Nagasawa, Maarten Wisse, Peter Kügler & Igor Douven (2004). Returning the Gift of Life. Ars Disputandi 4.
    The gift of life argument, the claim that suicide is immoral because our lives are not ours to dispose of as we are their guardians or stewards, is a persistent theme in debates about the morality of suicide, assisted-suicide, and euthanasia. I argue that this argument suffers from a fatal internal incoherence. The gift can either be interpreted literally or analogically. If it is interpreted literally there are serious problems in understanding who receives the gift. If it is understood analogically (...)
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  4.  53
    Igor Douven & Sara Verbrugge (2013). The Probabilities of Conditionals Revisited. Cognitive Science 37 (4):711-730.
    According to what is now commonly referred to as “the Equation” in the literature on indicative conditionals, the probability of any indicative conditional equals the probability of its consequent of the conditional given the antecedent of the conditional. Philosophers widely agree in their assessment that the triviality arguments of Lewis and others have conclusively shown the Equation to be tenable only at the expense of the view that indicative conditionals express propositions. This study challenges the correctness of that assessment by (...)
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  5.  69
    Igor Douven, Lieven Decock, Richard Dietz & Paul Égré (2013). Vagueness: A Conceptual Spaces Approach. Journal of Philosophical Logic 42 (1):137-160.
    The conceptual spaces approach has recently emerged as a novel account of concepts. Its guiding idea is that concepts can be represented geometrically, by means of metrical spaces. While it is generally recognized that many of our concepts are vague, the question of how to model vagueness in the conceptual spaces approach has not been addressed so far, even though the answer is far from straightforward. The present paper aims to fill this lacuna.
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  6. Igor Douven (2015). The Epistemology of Indicative Conditionals: Formal and Empirical Approaches. Cambridge University Press.
    Conditionals are sentences of the form 'If A, then B', and they play a central role in scientific, logical, and everyday reasoning. They have been in the philosophical limelight for centuries, and more recently, they have been receiving attention from psychologists, linguists, and computer scientists. In spite of this, many key questions concerning conditionals remain unanswered. While most of the work on conditionals has addressed semantical questions – questions about the truth conditions of conditionals – this book focuses on the (...)
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  7. Igor Douven & Timothy Williamson (2006). Generalizing the Lottery Paradox. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):755-779.
    This paper is concerned with formal solutions to the lottery paradox on which high probability defeasibly warrants acceptance. It considers some recently proposed solutions of this type and presents an argument showing that these solutions are trivial in that they boil down to the claim that perfect probability is sufficient for rational acceptability. The argument is then generalized, showing that a broad class of similar solutions faces the same problem. An argument against some formal solutions to the lottery paradox The (...)
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  8.  14
    Igor Douven & Sara Verbrugge (2010). The Adams Family. Cognition 117 (3):302-318.
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  9.  31
    Igor Douven & Christoph Kelp (2013). Proper Bootstrapping. Synthese 190 (1):171-185.
    According to a much discussed argument, reliabilism is defective for making knowledge too easy to come by. In a recent paper, Weisberg aims to show that this argument relies on a type of reasoning that is rejectable on independent grounds. We argue that the blanket rejection that Weisberg recommends of this type of reasoning is both unwarranted and unwelcome. Drawing on an older discussion in the philosophy of science, we show that placing some relatively modest restrictions on the said type (...)
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  10.  21
    Igor Douven (2011). Further Results on the Intransitivity of Evidential Support. Review of Symbolic Logic 4 (4):487-497.
    It is known that evidential support, on the Bayesian definition of this notion, is intransitive. According to some, however, the Bayesian definition is too weak to be materially adequate. This paper investigates whether evidential support is transitive on some plausible probabilistic strengthening of that definition. It is shown that the answer is negative. In fact, it will appear that even under conditions under which the Bayesian notion of evidential support is transitive, the most plausible candidate strengthenings are not.
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  11.  32
    Igor Douven (2013). Inference to the Best Explanation, Dutch Books, and Inaccuracy Minimisation. Philosophical Quarterly 63 (252):428-444.
    Bayesians have traditionally taken a dim view of the Inference to the Best Explanation, arguing that, if IBE is at variance with Bayes ' rule, then it runs afoul of the dynamic Dutch book argument. More recently, Bayes ' rule has been claimed to be superior on grounds of conduciveness to our epistemic goal. The present paper aims to show that neither of these arguments succeeds in undermining IBE.
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  12.  18
    Igor Douven & Sylvia Wenmackers (forthcoming). Inference to the Best Explanation Versus Bayes’s Rule in a Social Setting. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv025.
    This article compares inference to the best explanation with Bayes’s rule in a social setting, specifically, in the context of a variant of the Hegselmann–Krause model in which agents not only update their belief states on the basis of evidence they receive directly from the world, but also take into account the belief states of their fellow agents. So far, the update rules mentioned have been studied only in an individualistic setting, and it is known that in such a setting (...)
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  13.  26
    Igor Douven & Jonah N. Schupbach (2015). Probabilistic Alternatives to Bayesianism: The Case of Explanationism. Frontiers in Psychology 6 (459).
    There has been a probabilistic turn in contemporary cognitive science. Far and away, most of the work in this vein is Bayesian, at least in name. Coinciding with this development, philosophers have increasingly promoted Bayesianism as the best normative account of how humans ought to reason. In this paper, we make a push for exploring the probabilistic terrain outside of Bayesianism. Non-Bayesian, but still probabilistic, theories provide plausible competitors both to descriptive and normative Bayesian accounts. We argue for this general (...)
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  14.  27
    Igor Douven (2009). Uniqueness Revisited. American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (4):347 - 361.
    Various authors have recently argued that you cannot rationally stick to your belief in the face of known disagreement with an epistemic peer, that is, a person you take to have the same evidence and judgmental skills as you do. For, they claim, because there is but one rational response to any body of evidence, a disagreement with an epistemic peer indicates that at least one of you is not responding rationally to the evidence. Given that you take your peer (...)
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  15. Richard Dietz & Igor Douven (2010). Ramsey’s Test, Adams’ Thesis, and Left-Nested Conditionals. Review of Symbolic Logic 3 (3):467-484.
    Adams famously suggested that the acceptability of any indicative conditional whose antecedent and consequent are both factive sentences amounts to the subjective conditional probability of the consequent given the antecedent. The received view has it that this thesis offers an adequate partial explication of Ramsey’s test, which characterizes graded acceptability for conditionals in terms of hypothetical updates on the antecedent. Some results in van Fraassen may raise hope that this explicatory approach to Ramsey’s test is extendible to left-nested conditionals, that (...)
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  16.  45
    Igor Douven (2002). A New Solution to the Paradoxes of Rational Acceptability. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (3):391-410.
    The Lottery Paradox and the Preface Paradox both involve the thesis that high probability is sufficient for rational acceptability. The standard solution to these paradoxes denies that rational acceptability is deductively closed. This solution has a number of untoward consequences. The present paper suggests that a better solution to the paradoxes is to replace the thesis that high probability suffices for rational acceptability with a somewhat stricter thesis. This avoids the untoward consequences of the standard solution. The new solution will (...)
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  17.  42
    Igor Douven & Jan-Willem Romeijn (2011). A New Resolution of the Judy Benjamin Problem. Mind 120 (479):637-670.
    Van Fraassen's Judy Benjamin problem has generally been taken to show that not all rational changes of belief can be modelled in a probabilistic framework if the available update rules are restricted to Bayes's rule and Jeffrey's generalization thereof. But alternative rules based on distance functions between probability assignments that allegedly can handle the problem seem to have counterintuitive consequences. Taking our cue from a recent proposal by Bradley, we argue that Jeffrey's rule can solve the Judy Benjamin (...)
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  18.  40
    Igor Douven & Richard Dietz (2011). A Puzzle About Stalnaker's Hypothesis. Topoi 30 (1):31-37.
    According to Stalnaker’s Hypothesis, the probability of an indicative conditional, $\Pr(\varphi \rightarrow \psi),$ equals the probability of the consequent conditional on its antecedent, $\Pr(\psi | \varphi)$ . While the hypothesis is generally taken to have been conclusively refuted by Lewis’ and others’ triviality arguments, its descriptive adequacy has been confirmed in many experimental studies. In this paper, we consider some possible ways of resolving the apparent tension between the analytical and the empirical results relating to Stalnaker’s Hypothesis (...)
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  19.  47
    Wouter Meijs & Igor Douven (2007). On the Alleged Impossibility of Coherence. Synthese 157 (3):347 - 360.
    If coherence is to have justificatory status, as some analytical philosophers think it has, it must be truth-conducive, if perhaps only under certain specific conditions. This paper is a critical discussion of some recent arguments that seek to show that under no reasonable conditions can coherence be truth-conducive. More specifically, it considers Bovens and Hartmann’s and Olsson’s “impossibility results,” which attempt to show that coherence cannot possibly be a truth-conducive property. We point to various ways in which the advocates of (...)
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  20. Igor Douven (1999). Inference to the Best Explanation Made Coherent. Philosophy of Science 66 (Supplement):S424-S435.
    Van Fraassen (1989) argues that Inference to the Best Explanation is incoherent in the sense that adopting it as a rule for belief change will make one susceptible to a dynamic Dutch book. The present paper argues against this. A strategy is described that allows us to infer to the best explanation free of charge.
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  21.  83
    Igor Douven (2009). Assertion, Moore, and Bayes. Philosophical Studies 144 (3):361 - 375.
    It is widely believed that the so-called knowledge account of assertion best explains why sentences such as “It’s raining in Paris but I don’t believe it” and “It’s raining in Paris but I don’t know it” appear odd to us. I argue that the rival rational credibility account of assertion explains that fact just as well. I do so by providing a broadly Bayesian analysis of the said type of sentences which shows that such sentences cannot express rationally held beliefs. (...)
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  22.  38
    Igor Douven & Wouter Meijs (2006). Bootstrap Confirmation Made Quantitative. Synthese 149 (1):97 - 132.
    Glymour’s theory of bootstrap confirmation is a purely qualitative account of confirmation; it allows us to say that the evidence confirms a given theory, but not that it confirms the theory to a certain degree. The present paper extends Glymour’s theory to a quantitative account and investigates the resulting theory in some detail. It also considers the question how bootstrap confirmation relates to justification.
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  23. Igor Douven (2002). Testing Inference to the Best Explanation. Synthese 130 (3):355-377.
    Inference to the Best Explanation has become the subject of a livelydebate in the philosophy of science. Scientific realists maintain, while scientificantirealists deny, that it is a compelling rule of inference. It seems that anyattempt to settle this debate empirically must beg the question against theantirealist. The present paper argues that this impression is misleading. A methodis described that, by combining Glymour '' s theory of bootstrapping and Hacking '' sarguments from microscopy, allows us to test IBE without begging any (...)
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  24.  20
    Igor Douven & Jan-Willem Romeijn (2011). A New Resolution of the Judy Benjamin Problem. Mind 120 (479):637 - 670.
    A paper on how to adapt your probabilisitc beliefs when learning a conditional.
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  25. Igor Douven & Jan-Willem Romeijn (2007). The Discursive Dilemma as a Lottery Paradox. Economics and Philosophy 23 (3):301-319.
    List and Pettit have stated an impossibility theorem about the aggregation of individual opinion states. Building on recent work on the lottery paradox, this paper offers a variation on that result. The present result places different constraints on the voting agenda and the domain of profiles, but it covers a larger class of voting rules, which need not satisfy the proposition-wise independence of votes.
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  26.  34
    Igor Douven (2007). A Pragmatic Dissolution of Harman's Paradox. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):326-345.
    There is widespread agreement that we cannot know of a lottery ticket we own that it is a loser prior to the drawing of the lottery. At the same time we appear to have knowledge of events that will occur only if our ticket is a loser. Supposing any plausible closure principle for knowledge, the foregoing seems to yield a paradox. Appealing to some broadly Gricean insights, the present paper argues that this paradox is apparent only.
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  27.  21
    Igor Douven (2008). The Lottery Paradox and Our Epistemic Goal. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2):204-225.
    Many have the intuition that the right response to the Lottery Paradox is to deny that one can justifiably believe of even a single lottery ticket that it will lose. The paper shows that from any theory of justification that solves the paradox in accordance with this intuition, a theory not of that kind can be derived that also solves the paradox but is more conducive to our epistemic goal than the former. It is argued that currently there is no (...)
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  28.  21
    Igor Douven (forthcoming). How to Account for the Oddness of Missing-Link Conditionals. Synthese:1-14.
    Conditionals whose antecedent and consequent are not somehow internally connected tend to strike us as odd. The received doctrine is that this felt oddness is to be explained pragmatically. Exactly how the pragmatic explanation is supposed to go has remained elusive, however. This paper discusses recent philosophical and psychological work that attempts to account semantically for the apparent oddness of conditionals lacking an internal connection between their parts.
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  29.  17
    Igor Douven (2013). 1. The Epistemology of Conditionals. Oxford Studies in Epistemology 4:1.
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  30.  89
    Igor Douven (2010). The Pragmatics of Belief. Journal of Pragmatics 42 (1):35-47.
    This paper argues that pragmatic considerations similar to the ones that Grice has shown pertain to assertability pertain to acceptability. It further shows how this should affect some widely held epistemic principles. The idea of a pragmatics of belief is defended against some seemingly obvious objections.
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  31.  6
    David Over, Igor Douven & Sara Verbrugge (2013). Scope Ambiguities and Conditionals. Thinking and Reasoning 19 (3-4):284-307.
  32.  59
    Niki Pfeifer & Igor Douven (2013). Formal Epistemology and the New Paradigm Psychology of Reasoning. Review of Philosophy and Psychology (2):1-23.
    This position paper advocates combining formal epistemology and the new paradigm psychology of reasoning in the studies of conditionals and reasoning with uncertainty. The new paradigm psychology of reasoning is characterized by the use of probability theory as a rationality framework instead of classical logic, used by more traditional approaches to the psychology of reasoning. This paper presents a new interdisciplinary research program which involves both formal and experimental work. To illustrate the program, the paper discusses recent work on the (...)
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  33.  98
    Wouter Meijs & Igor Douven (2005). Bovens and Hartmann on Coherence. Mind 114 (454):355-363.
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  34. James Ladyman, Igor Douven, Leon Horsten & Bas van Fraassen (1997). A Defence of Van Fraassen's Critique of Abductive Inference: Reply to Psillos. Philosophical Quarterly 47 (188):305-321.
    Psillos has recently argued that van Fraassen’s arguments against abduction fail. Moreover, he claimed that, if successful, these arguments would equally undermine van Fraassen’s own constructive empiricism, for, Psillos thinks, it is only by appeal to abduction that constructive empiricism can be saved from issuing in a bald scepticism. We show that Psillos’ criticisms are misguided, and that they are mostly based on misinterpretations of van Fraassen’s arguments. Furthermore, we argue that Psillos’ arguments for his claim that constructive empiricism itself (...)
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  35. Igor Douven & Lieven Decock (2010). Identity and Similarity. Philosophical Studies 151 (1):59-78.
    The standard approach to the so-called paradoxes of identity has been to argue that these paradoxes do not essentially concern the notion of identity but rather betray misconceptions on our part regarding other metaphysical notions, like that of an object or a property. This paper proposes a different approach by pointing to an ambiguity in the identity predicate and arguing that the concept of identity that figures in many ordinary identity claims, including those that appear in the paradoxes, is not (...)
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  36.  58
    Igor Douven (2008). The Evidential Support Theory of Conditionals. Synthese 164 (1):19-44.
    According to so-called epistemic theories of conditionals, the assertability/acceptability/acceptance of a conditional requires the existence of an epistemically significant relation between the conditional’s antecedent and its consequent. This paper points to some linguistic data that our current best theories of the foregoing type appear unable to explain. Further, it presents a new theory of the same type that does not have that shortcoming. The theory is then defended against some seemingly obvious objections.
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  37.  57
    Igor Douven (2008). Knowledge and Practical Reasoning. Dialectica 62 (1):101–118.
    The idea that knowledge is conceptually related to practical reasoning is becoming increasingly popular. In defending this idea, philosophers have been relying on a conception of practical reasoning that drastically deviates from one which has been more traditionally advocated in analytic philosophy and which assigns no special role to knowledge. This paper argues that these philosophers have failed to give good reasons for thinking that the conception of practical reasoning they have been assuming is the right one, and that hence (...)
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  38.  19
    Karolina Krzyżanowska, Sylvia Wenmackers & Igor Douven (2014). Rethinking Gibbard's Riverboat Argument. Studia Logica 102 (4):771-792.
    According to the Principle of Conditional Non-Contradiction (CNC), conditionals of the form “If p, q” and “If p, not q” cannot both be true, unless p is inconsistent. This principle is widely regarded as an adequacy constraint on any semantics that attributes truth conditions to conditionals. Gibbard has presented an example of a pair of conditionals that, in the context he describes, appear to violate CNC. He concluded from this that conditionals lack truth conditions. We argue that this conclusion is (...)
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  39.  59
    Igor Douven (2003). The Preface Paradox Revisited. Erkenntnis 59 (3):389 - 420.
    The Preface Paradox has led many philosophers to believe that, if it isassumed that high probability is necessary for rational acceptability, the principleaccording to which rational acceptability is closed under conjunction (CP)must be abandoned. In this paper we argue that the paradox is far less damaging to CP than is generally believed. We describe how, given certain plausibleassumptions, in a large class of cases in which CP seems to lead tocontradiction, it does not do so after all. A restricted version (...)
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  40. Igor Douven & Leon Horsten (1998). Earman on Underdetermination and Empirical Indistinguishability. Erkenntnis 49 (3):303-320.
    Earman (1993) distinguishes three notions of empirical indistinguishability and offers a rigorous framework to investigate how each of these notions relates to the problem of underdetermination of theory choice. He uses some of the results obtained in this framework to argue for a version of scientific anti- realism. In the present paper we first criticize Earman's arguments for that position. Secondly, we propose and motivate a modification of Earman's framework and establish several results concerning some of the notions of indistinguishability (...)
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  41.  65
    Igor Douven (2008). Kaufmann on the Probabilities of Conditionals. Journal of Philosophical Logic 37 (3):259 - 266.
    Kaufmann has recently argued that the thesis according to which the probability of an indicative conditional equals the conditional probability of the consequent given the antecedent under certain specifiable circumstances deviates from intuition. He presents a method for calculating the probability of a conditional that does seem to give the intuitively correct result under those circumstances. However, the present paper shows that Kaufmann’s method is inconsistent in that it may lead one to assign different probabilities to a single conditional at (...)
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  42.  32
    Igor Douven (2010). Simulating Peer Disagreements. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (2):148-157.
    It has been claimed that epistemic peers, upon discovering that they disagree on some issue, should give up their opposing views and ‘split the difference’. The present paper challenges this claim by showing, with the help of computer simulations, that what the rational response to the discovery of peer disagreement is—whether it is sticking to one’s belief or splitting the difference—depends on factors that are contingent and highly context-sensitive.Keywords: Peer disagreement; Computer simulations; Opinion dynamics; Hegselmann–Krause model; Social epistemology.
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  43.  40
    Igor Douven & Christoph Kelp (2011). Truth Approximation, Social Epistemology, and Opinion Dynamics. Erkenntnis 75 (2):271-283.
  44.  35
    Lieven Decock & Igor Douven (2014). What Is Graded Membership? Noûs 48 (4):653-682.
    It has seemed natural to model phenomena related to vagueness in terms of graded membership. However, so far no satisfactory answer has been given to the question of what graded membership is nor has any attempt been made to describe in detail a procedure for determining degrees of membership. We seek to remedy these lacunae by building on recent work on typicality and graded membership in cognitive science and combining some of the results obtained there with a version of the (...)
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  45. Igor Douven (2005). Evidence, Explanation, and the Empirical Status of Scientific Realism. Erkenntnis 63 (2):253 - 291.
    There is good reason to believe that, if it can be decided at all, the realism debate must be decided on a posteriori grounds. But at least prima facie the prospects for an a posteriori resolution of the debate seem bleak, given that realists and antirealists disagree over two of the most fundamental questions pertaining to any kind of empirical research, to wit, what the range of accessible evidence is and what the methodological status of explanatory considerations is. The present (...)
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  46.  6
    Igor Douven, Sylvia Wenmackers, Yasmina Jraissati & Lieven Decock (2016). Measuring Graded Membership: The Case of Color. Cognitive Science 40 (4).
    This paper considers Kamp and Partee's account of graded membership within a conceptual spaces framework and puts the account to the test in the domain of colors. Three experiments are reported that are meant to determine, on the one hand, the regions in color space where the typical instances of blue and green are located and, on the other hand, the degrees of blueness/greenness of various shades in the blue–green region as judged by human observers. From the locations of the (...)
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  47.  92
    Lieven Decock & Igor Douven (2011). Similarity After Goodman. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (1):61-75.
    In a famous critique, Goodman dismissed similarity as a slippery and both philosophically and scientifically useless notion. We revisit his critique in the light of important recent work on similarity in psychology and cognitive science. Specifically, we use Tversky’s influential set-theoretic account of similarity as well as Gärdenfors’s more recent resuscitation of the geometrical account to show that, while Goodman’s critique contained valuable insights, it does not warrant a dismissal of similarity.
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  48.  24
    Igor Douven & Alexander Riegler (2009). Extending the Hegselmann–Krause Model III: From Single Beliefs to Complex Belief States. Episteme 6 (2):145-163.
    In recent years, various computational models have been developed for studying the dynamics of belief formation in a population of epistemically interacting agents that try to determine the numerical value of a given parameter. Whereas in those models, agents’ belief states consist of single numerical beliefs, the present paper describes a model that equips agents with richer belief states containing many beliefs that, moreover, are logically interconnected. Correspondingly, the truth the agents are after is a theory (a set of sentences (...)
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  49.  27
    Igor Douven (2005). A Principled Solution to Fitch's Paradox. Erkenntnis 62 (1):47 - 69.
    To save antirealism from Fitchs Paradox, Tennant has proposed to restrict the scope of the antirealist principle that all truths are knowable to truths that can be consistently assumed to be known. Although the proposal solves the paradox, it has been accused of doing so in an ad hoc manner. This paper argues that, first, for all Tennant has shown, the accusation is just; second, a restriction of the antirealist principle apparently weaker than Tennants yields a non-ad hoc solution to (...)
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  50. Igor Douven (2005). A Contextualist Solution to the Gettier Problem. Grazer Philosophische Studien 69 (1):207-228.
    According to the deontological view on justification, being justified in believing some proposition is a matter of having done one's epistemic duty with respect to that proposition. The present paper argues that, given a proper articulation of the deontological view, it is defensible that knowledge is justified true belief, pace virtually all epistemologists since Gettier. One important claim to be argued for is that once it is appreciated that it depends on contextual factors whether a person has done her epistemic (...)
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