Contemporary epistemologists are roughly divided into those relying largely on common-sense considerations and focusing on examples and counterexamples for advancing or rejecting various epistemological theses, and those applying a variety of tools and methods from logic, computability theory or probability theory to the theory of knowledge. The two sorts, and the traditions to which they hitherto are taken to belong, have unfortunately proceeded largely in isolation from one another. But on closer examination the approaches have much in common, may be (...) bridged for their mutual beneﬁt and the advancement of epistemology in general. Here are 7 ways of doing it as the invited papers in this special issue of Philosophical Studies demonstrate the fruitful interaction between informal considerations and various formal apparata in order to support, sharpen, undermine, realize, or contribute in some other pertinent way to fundamental epistemological themes. (shrink)
This book will be a rewarding reading for everybody who is interested in logical aspects of scientiﬁc knowledge acquisition. The presentation of the issues discussed in the book is exemplary. The author was able to present in parallel way three diﬀerent perspectives under which the issues discussed in the book might be approached.
I started out as a student of physics, hard-working, interested, but alas, not ‘in love’ with my subject. Then logic struck, and having become interested in this subject for various reasons – including the fascinating personality of my first teacher –, I switched after my candidate’s program, to take two master’s degrees, in mathematics and in philosophy. The beauty of mathematics was clear to me at once, with the amazing power, surprising twists, and indeed the music, of abstract arguments. As (...) our professor of Analysis wrote at the time in our study guide “Mathematics is about the delight in the purity of trains of thought”, and oldfashioned though this phrasing sounded in the revolutionary 1960s, it did resonate with me. Then I had the privilege of being taught set-theoretic topology by a group of brilliant students around De Groot, our leading expert around the time, who worked with Moore’s method of discovering a subject for oneself. Topology unfolded from a few definitions and examples to real theorems that we had to prove ourselves – and the take-home exam took sleepless nights, as it included proving some results from scratch which came from a recent dissertation (as it turned out later). Only at the very end did De Groot appear, to give one lecture on Tychonoff’s Theorem where an application was made of the Axiom of Choice, a sacral act only to be performed by tenured full professors. (shrink)
Formal epistemology is the study of crucial concepts in general or mainstream epistemology including knowledge, belief (-change), certainty, rationality, reasoning, decision, justi…cation, learning, agent interaction and information processing using a spread of di¤erent formal tools. The formal tools may be drawn from logic, probability theory, game theory, decision theory, formal learning theory, distributed computing and is thus not simply a purely philosophical province. Its practitioners include philosophers, computer scientists, social scientists, cognitive psychologists, theoretical economists, mathematicians, and theoretical linguists. Formal epistemology (...) is a thoroughly interdisciplinary …eld with many agendas, actors and issues. What follows is a breezy overview of formal epistemology as organized around notions of agency and interaction. (shrink)
Pluralistic ignorance is a nasty informational phenomenon studied widely in social psychology and theoretical economics. It revolves around conditions under which it is "legitimate" for everyone to remain ignorant. In formal epistemology there is enough machinery to model and resolve situations in which pluralististic ignorance may arise. Here is a simple …rst stab at recovering from pluralistic ignorance by means of knowledge transmissibility.
A view among methodologists is that truth and convergence are related in such a way that scienti…c theories in their historical order of appearance contribute to the convergence to an ultimate ideal theory. It is not a fact that science develops accordingly but rather a hypothetical thought experiment to explain why science develops at all. Here, a simple formal model is presented for scrutinizing the relations between two truths and convergence.
It has become a truism that we live in so-called information societies where new information technologies have made information abundant. At the same time, information science has made us aware of many phenomena tied to the way we process information. This article explores a series of socio-epistemic information phenomena resulting from processes that track truth imperfectly: pluralistic ignorance, informational cascades, and belief polarization. It then couples these phenomena with the hypothesis that modern information technologies may lead to their amplification so (...) as to give rise to what are called “infostorms.” This points to the need for studying further the exact relations between information technologies and such infostorms, as well as the ways we may design technologies to avoid being misled away from what we have good reasons to believe. (shrink)
Abstract: Pluralistic ignorance is a nasty informational phenomenon widely studied in social psychology and theoretical economics. It revolves around conditions under which it is "legitimate" for everyone to remain ignorant. In formal epistemology there is enough machinery to model and resolve situations in which pluralistic ignorance may arise. Here is a simple first stab at recovering from pluralistic ignorance by means of knowledge transmissibility.
The essays both represent a variety of epistemological approaches, including those of the humanities, social studies, natural science, sociology, psychology, and engineering sciences and reflect a diversity of philosophical traditions such ...
Mainstream and Formal Epistemology provides the first easily accessible yet erudite and original analysis of the meeting point between mainstream and formal theories of knowledge. These two strands of thinking have traditionally proceeded in isolation from one another but in this book Vincent F. Hendricks brings them together for a systematic comparative treatment. He demonstrates how mainstream and formal epistemology may significantly benefit from one another, paving the way for a new unifying program of 'plethoric' epistemology. His book will both (...) define and further the debate between philosophers from two very different sides of the epistemological spectrum. (shrink)
'Possible worlds' have been one of the true conundrum notions in philosophy. On the hand possible worlds have proved very useful in philosophical logic for obtaining significant formal results with sunbstantial philosophical import. Yet on the other they have generated much noise and commotion in especially metaphysics and epistemology. From a logical point of view they are useful tools or conceptual constructions, from a philosophical point of view troublesome entitites generating endless discussions.
Epistemic logic begins with the recognition that our everyday talk about knowing and believing has some systematic features that we can track and re‡ect upon. Epistemic logicians have studied and extended these glints of systematic structure in fascinating and important ways since the early 1960s. However, for one reason or another, mainstream epistemologists have shown little interest. It is striking to contrast the marginal role of epistemic logic in contemporary epistemology with the centrality of modal logic for metaphysicians. This article (...) is intended to help in correcting this oversight by presenting some important developments in epistemic logic and suggesting ways to understand their applicability to traditional epistemological problems. Obviously, by itself, tweaking the formal apparatus of epistemic logic does not solve traditional epistemological problems. Epistemic logic can help us to navigate through problems in a systematic fashion by unpacking the logic of the problematic concepts, it can also lead us to recognize problems that we had not anticipated. This is basically analogous to the role that modal logic has played in contemporary metaphysics. (shrink)
The purpose of this survey is twofold: (1) to place some centralthemes of epistemic logic in a general epistemological context,and (2) to outline a new framework for epistemic logic developedjointly with S. Andur Pedersen unifying some key ``mainstream''epistemological concerns with the ``formal'' epistemologicalapparatus.
This book sheds light on some recent discussions of the problems in probability theory and their history, analysing their philosophical and mathematical significance, and the role pf mathematical probability theory in other sciences.
Engineering science is a scientific discipline that from the point of view of epistemology and the philosophy of science has been somewhat neglected. When engineering science was under philosophical scrutiny it often just involved the question of whether engineering is a spin-off of pure and applied science and their methods. We, however, hold that engineering is a science governed by its own epistemology, methodology and ontology. This point is systematically argued by comparing the different sciences with respect to a particular (...) set of characterization criteria. (shrink)
From the point of view of the KaLC-paradigm (Knowledge as Limiting Convergence) this paper has two aims. First of all it attempts to sketch some of the pertinent problems of scientific discovery and secondly, it outlines how these problems can be treated in the KaLC -paradigm.