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Profile: Sylvia Wenmackers (University of Groningen)
  1. Lieven Decock, Igor Douven, Christoph Kelp & Sylvia Wenmackers (2014). Knowledge and Approximate Knowledge. Erkenntnis 79:1129-1150.
    Traditionally, epistemologists have held that only truth-related factors matter in the question of whether a subject can be said to know a proposition. Various philosophers have recently departed from this doctrine by claiming that the answer to this question also depends on practical concerns. They take this move to be warranted by the fact that people’s knowledge attributions appear sensitive to contextual variation, in particular variation due to differing stakes. This paper proposes an alternative explanation of the aforementioned fact, one (...)
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  2. 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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  3. Jeanne Peijnenburg & Sylvia Wenmackers (2014). Infinite Regress in Decision Theory, Philosophy of Science, and Formal Epistemology. Synthese 191 (4):627-628.
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  4. Sylvia Wenmackers, Danny E. P. Vanpoucke & Igor Douven (2014). Rationality: A Social-Epistemology Perspective. Frontiers in Psychology 5 (581).
    Both in philosophy and in psychology, human rationality has traditionally been studied from an “individualistic” perspective. Recently, social epistemologists have drawn attention to the fact that epistemic interactions among agents also give rise to important questions concerning rationality. In previous work, we have used a formal model to assess the risk that a particular type of social-epistemic interactions lead agents with initially consistent belief states into inconsistent belief states. Here, we continue this work by investigating the dynamics to which these (...)
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  5. Vieri Benci, Leon Horsten & Sylvia Wenmackers (2013). Non-Archimedean Probability. Milan Journal of Mathematics 81 (1):121-151.
    We propose an alternative approach to probability theory closely related to the framework of numerosity theory: non-Archimedean probability (NAP). In our approach, unlike in classical probability theory, all subsets of an infinite sample space are measurable and only the empty set gets assigned probability zero (in other words: the probability functions are regular). We use a non-Archimedean field as the range of the probability function. As a result, the property of countable additivity in Kolmogorov’s axiomatization of probability is replaced by (...)
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  6. Sylvia Wenmackers (2013). Ultralarge Lotteries: Analyzing the Lottery Paradox Using Non-Standard Analysis. Journal of Applied Logic 11 (4):452-467.
    A popular way to relate probabilistic information to binary rational beliefs is the Lockean Thesis, which is usually formalized in terms of thresholds. This approach seems far from satisfactory: the value of the thresholds is not well-specified and the Lottery Paradox shows that the model violates the Conjunction Principle. We argue that the Lottery Paradox is a symptom of a more fundamental and general problem, shared by all threshold-models that attempt to put an exact border on something that is intrinsically (...)
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  7. Sylvia Wenmackers & Leon Horsten (2013). Fair Infinite Lotteries. Synthese 190 (1):37-61.
    This article discusses how the concept of a fair finite lottery can best be extended to denumerably infinite lotteries. Techniques and ideas from non-standard analysis are brought to bear on the problem.
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  8. Vieri Benci, Leon Horsten & Sylvia Wenmackers (2012). Axioms for Non-Archimedean Probability (NAP). In De Vuyst J. & Demey L. (eds.), Future Directions for Logic; Proceedings of PhDs in Logic III - Vol. 2 of IfColog Proceedings. College Publications.
    In this contribution, we focus on probabilistic problems with a denumerably or non-denumerably infinite number of possible outcomes. Kolmogorov (1933) provided an axiomatic basis for probability theory, presented as a part of measure theory, which is a branch of standard analysis or calculus. Since standard analysis does not allow for non-Archimedean quantities (i.e. infinitesimals), we may call Kolmogorov's approach "Archimedean probability theory". We show that allowing non-Archimedean probability values may have considerable epistemological advantages in the infinite case. The current paper (...)
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  9. Karolina Krzyżanowska, Sylvia Wenmackers, Igor Douven & Sara Verbrugge, Conditionals, Inference, and Evidentiality. Proceedings of the Logic and Cognition Workshop at ESSLLI 2012; Opole, Poland, 13-17 August, 2012 - Vol. 883 of CEUR Workshop Proceedings.
    At least many conditionals seem to convey the existence of a link between their antecedent and consequent. We draw on a recently proposed typology of conditionals to revive an old philosophical idea according to which the link is inferential in nature. We show that the proposal has explanatory force by presenting empirical results on two Dutch linguistic markers.
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  10. Sylvia Wenmackers (2012). Ultralarge and Infinite Lotteries. In B. Van Kerkhove, T. Libert, G. Vanpaemel & P. Marage (eds.), Logic, Philosophy and History of Science in Belgium II (Proceedings of the Young Researchers Days 2010). Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten.
    By exploiting the parallels between large, yet finite lotteries on the one hand and countably infinite lotteries on the other, we gain insights in the foundations of probability theory as well as in epistemology. We solve the 'adding problems' that occur in these two contexts using a similar strategy, based on non-standard analysis.
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  11. Sylvia Wenmackers & Danny E. P. Vanpoucke (2012). Models and Simulations in Material Science: Two Cases Without Error Bars. Statistica Neerlandica 66 (3):339–355.
    We discuss two research projects in material science in which the results cannot be stated with an estimation of the error: a spectroscopic ellipsometry study aimed at determining the orientation of DNA molecules on diamond and a scanning tunneling microscopy study of platinum-induced nanowires on germanium. To investigate the reliability of the results, we apply ideas from the philosophy of models in science. Even if the studies had reported an error value, the trustworthiness of the result would not depend on (...)
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  12. Sylvia Wenmackers, Danny E. P. Vanpoucke & Igor Douven (2012). Probability of Inconsistencies in Theory Revision. European Physical Journal B 85 (1):44 (15).
    We present a model for studying communities of epistemically interacting agents who update their belief states by averaging (in a specified way) the belief states of other agents in the community. The agents in our model have a rich belief state, involving multiple independent issues which are interrelated in such a way that they form a theory of the world. Our main goal is to calculate the probability for an agent to end up in an inconsistent belief state due to (...)
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  13. Sylvia Wenmackers (2011). Philosophy of Probability: Foundations, Epistemology, and Computation. Dissertation, University of Groningen
    This dissertation is a contribution to formal and computational philosophy. -/- In the first part, we show that by exploiting the parallels between large, yet finite lotteries on the one hand and countably infinite lotteries on the other, we gain insights in the foundations of probability theory as well as in epistemology. Case 1: Infinite lotteries. We discuss how the concept of a fair finite lottery can best be extended to denumerably infinite lotteries. The solution boils down to the introduction (...)
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