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Probability and the Logic of Rational Belief

Middletown, CT, USA: Wesleyan University Press (1961)

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  1. What Can We Learn From Buridan's Ass?Ruth Weintraub - 2012 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (3-4):281-301.
    The mythical1 hungry ass, facing two identical bundles of hay equidistant from him, has engendered two related questions. Can he choose one of the bundles, there seemingly being nothing to incline him one way or the other? If he can, the second puzzle — pertaining to rational choice — arises. It seems the ass cannot rationally choose one of the bundles, because there is no sufficient reason for any choice.2In what follows, I will argue that choice is possible even when (...)
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  • The Lottery Paradox, Knowledge, and Rationality.Dana K. Nelkin - 2000 - Philosophical Review 109 (3):373-409.
    Jim buys a ticket in a million-ticket lottery. He knows it is a fair lottery, but, given the odds, he believes he will lose. When the winning ticket is chosen, it is not his. Did he know his ticket would lose? It seems that he did not. After all, if he knew his ticket would lose, why would he have bought it? Further, if he knew his ticket would lose, then, given that his ticket is no different in its chances (...)
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  • Nelkin on the Lottery Paradox.Igor Douven - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (3):395-404.
    As part of an exceptionally lucid analysis of the Lottery Paradox, Dana Nelkin castigates the solutions to that paradox put forward by Laurence Bonjour and Sharon Ryan. According to her, these are “so finely tailored to lottery-like cases that they are limited in their ability to explain [what seem the intuitively right responses to such cases]”. She then offers a solution to the Lottery Paradox that allegedly has the virtue of being independently motivated by our intuitions regarding certain non-lottery-like cases. (...)
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  • Degrees of Belief.Franz Huber & Christoph Schmidt-Petri (eds.) - 2008 - Dordrecht and Heidelberg: Springer.
    Various theories try to give accounts of how measures of this confidence do or ought to behave, both as far as the internal mental consistency of the agent as ...
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  • On the Rationality of Inconsistent Predictions: The March Madness Paradox.Rory Smead - 2016 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 43 (1):163-169.
    There are circumstances in which we want to predict a series of interrelated events. Faced with such a prediction task, it is natural to consider logically inconsistent predictions to be irrational. However, it is possible to find cases where an inconsistent prediction has higher expected accuracy than any consistent prediction. Predicting tournaments in sports provides a striking example of such a case and I argue that logical consistency should not be a norm of rational predictions in these situations.
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  • Probability of Guilt.Mario Günther - manuscript
    In legal proceedings, a fact-finder needs to decide whether a defendant is guilty or not based on probabilistic evidence. We defend the thesis that the defendant should be found guilty just in case it is rational for the fact-finder to believe that the defendant is guilty. We draw on Leitgeb’s stability theory for an appropriate notion of rational belief and show how our thesis solves the problem of statistical evidence. Finally, we defend our account of legal proof against challenges from (...)
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  • Probabilistic Logics and Probabilistic Networks.Rolf Haenni, Jan-Willem Romeijn, Gregory Wheeler & Jon Williamson - 2010 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Synthese Library.
    Additionally, the text shows how to develop computationally feasible methods to mesh with this framework.
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  • David Makinson on Classical Methods for Non-Classical Problems.Sven Ove Hansson (ed.) - 2013 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer.
    The volume analyses and develops David Makinson’s efforts to make classical logic useful outside its most obvious application areas. The book contains chapters that analyse, appraise, or reshape Makinson’s work and chapters that develop themes emerging from his contributions. These are grouped into major areas to which Makinsons has made highly influential contributions and the volume in its entirety is divided into four sections, each devoted to a particular area of logic: belief change, uncertain reasoning, normative systems and the resources (...)
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  • Degrees of Assertability.Sam Carter - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (1):19-49.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Volume 104, Issue 1, Page 19-49, January 2022.
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  • Uncertainty, Rationality, and Agency.Wiebe van der Hoek - 2006 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer.
    This volume concerns Rational Agents - humans, players in a game, software or institutions - which must decide the proper next action in an atmosphere of partial information and uncertainty. The book collects formal accounts of Uncertainty, Rationality and Agency, and also of their interaction. It will benefit researchers in artificial systems which must gather information, reason about it and then make a rational decision on which action to take.
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  • On the Independence of Belief and Credence.Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - Philosophical Issues.
    Much of the literature on the relationship between belief and credence has focused on the reduction question: that is, whether either belief or credence reduces to the other. This debate, while important, only scratches the surface of the belief-credence connection. Even on the anti-reductive dualist view, belief and credence could still be very tightly connected. Here, I explore questions about the belief-credence connection that go beyond reduction. This paper is dedicated to what I call the independence question: just how independent (...)
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  • XX Congrés Valencià de Filosofia.Tobies Grimaltos, Pablo Rychter & Pablo Aguayo (eds.) - 2014 - Societat de Filosofia del País Valencià.
  • From Probabilities to Categorical Beliefs: Going Beyond Toy Models.Igor Douven & Hans Rott - 2018 - Journal of Logic and Computation 28 (6):1099-1124.
    According to the Lockean thesis, a proposition is believed just in case it is highly probable. While this thesis enjoys strong intuitive support, it is known to conflict with seemingly plausible logical constraints on our beliefs. One way out of this conflict is to make probability 1 a requirement for belief, but most have rejected this option for entailing what they see as an untenable skepticism. Recently, two new solutions to the conflict have been proposed that are alleged to be (...)
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  • Inductive Reasoning: Competence or Skill?Christopher Jepson, David H. Krantz & Richard E. Nisbett - 1983 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 6 (3):494.
  • Curiosity Was Framed.Dennis Whitcomb - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):664-687.
    This paper explores the nature of curiosity from an epistemological point of view. First it motivates this exploration by explaining why epistemologists do and should care about what curiosity is. Then it surveys the relevant literature and develops a particular approach.
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  • Contrapositivism; or, The Only Evidence Worth Paying for is Contained in the Negatives.David Miller - 1983 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 6 (2):256-257.
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  • An Objectivist Argument for Thirdism.The Oscar Seminar - 2008 - Analysis 68 (2):149–155.
  • The Lottery Paradox and Our Epistemic Goal.Igor Douven - 2008 - 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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  • Reason and the Grain of Belief.Scott Sturgeon - 2008 - Noûs 42 (1):139–165.
  • Probabilist antirealism.Igor Douven, Leon Horsten & Jan-Willem Romeijn - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (1):38-63.
    Until now, antirealists have offered sketches of a theory of truth, at best. In this paper, we present a probabilist account of antirealist truth in some formal detail, and we assess its ability to deal with the problems that are standardly taken to beset antirealism.
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  • The Lottery Paradox and the Pragmatics of Belief.Igor Douven - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (3):351-373.
    The thesis that high probability suffices for rational belief, while initially plausible, is known to face the Lottery Paradox. The present paper proposes an amended version of that thesis which escapes the Lottery Paradox. The amendment is argued to be plausible on independent grounds.
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  • Outright Belief.Ralph Wedgwood - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (3):309–329.
    Sometimes, we think of belief as a phenomenon that comes in degrees – that is, in the many different levels of confidence that a thinker might have in various different propositions. Sometimes, we think of belief as a simple two-place relation that holds between a thinker and a proposition – that is, as what I shall here call "outright belief".
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  • Belief, Degrees of Belief, and Assertion.Peter Milne - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (3):331-349.
    Starting from John MacFarlane's recent survey of answers to the question ‘What is assertion?’, I defend an account of assertion that draws on elements of MacFarlane's and Robert Brandom's commitment accounts, Timothy Williamson's knowledge norm account, and my own previous work on the normative status of logic. I defend the knowledge norm from recent attacks. Indicative conditionals, however, pose a problem when read along the lines of Ernest Adams' account, an account supported by much work in the psychology of reasoning. (...)
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  • II—W Hat is the N Ormative R Ole of L Ogic&Quest.Peter Milne - 2009 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):269-298.
    In making assertions one takes on commitments to the consistency of what one asserts and to the logical consequences of what one asserts. Although there is no quick link between belief and assertion, the dialectical requirements on assertion feed back into normative constraints on those beliefs that constitute one's evidence. But if we are not certain of many of our beliefs and that uncertainty is modelled in terms of probabilities, then there is at least prima facie incoherence between the normative (...)
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  • What Lottery Problem for Reliabilism?Juan Comesaña - 2009 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (1):1-20.
    It can often be heard in the hallways, and occasionally read in print, that reliabilism runs into special trouble regarding lottery cases. My main aim in this paper is to argue that this is not so. Nevertheless, lottery cases do force us to pay close attention to the relation between justification and probability.
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  • A Ranking‐Theoretic Approach to Conditionals.Wolfgang Spohn - 2013 - Cognitive Science 37 (6):1074-1106.
    Conditionals somehow express conditional beliefs. However, conditional belief is a bi-propositional attitude that is generally not truth-evaluable, in contrast to unconditional belief. Therefore, this article opts for an expressivistic semantics for conditionals, grounds this semantics in the arguably most adequate account of conditional belief, that is, ranking theory, and dismisses probability theory for that purpose, because probabilities cannot represent belief. Various expressive options are then explained in terms of ranking theory, with the intention to set out a general interpretive scheme (...)
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  • Getting a Little Closure for Closure.James Simpson - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12331-12361.
    In this paper, I’ll survey a number of closure principles of epistemic justification and find them all wanting. However, it’ll be my contention that there’s a novel closure principle of epistemic justification that has the virtues of its close cousin closure principles, without their vices. This closure principle of epistemic justification can be happily thought of as a multi-premise closure principle and it cannot be used in Cartesian skeptical arguments that employ a closure principle of epistemic justification. In this way, (...)
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  • Fallibilism.Baron Reed - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):585-596.
    Although recent epistemology has been marked by several prominent disagreements – e.g., between foundationalists and coherentists, internalists and externalists – there has been widespread agreement that some form of fallibilism must be correct. According to a rough formulation of this view, it is possible for a subject to have knowledge even in cases where the justification or grounding for the knowledge is compatible with the subject’s being mistaken. In this paper, I examine the motivation for fallibilism before providing a fully (...)
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  • The Probabilities of Conditionals Revisited.Igor Douven & Sara Verbrugge - 2013 - 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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  • Defeasible Reasoning.John L. Pollock - 1987 - Cognitive Science 11 (4):481-518.
    There was a long tradition in philosophy according to which good reasoning had to be deductively valid. However, that tradition began to be questioned in the 1960’s, and is now thoroughly discredited. What caused its downfall was the recognition that many familiar kinds of reasoning are not deductively valid, but clearly confer justification on their conclusions. Here are some simple examples.
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  • Non‐Classical Knowledge.Ethan Jerzak - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (1):190-220.
    The Knower paradox purports to place surprising a priori limitations on what we can know. According to orthodoxy, it shows that we need to abandon one of three plausible and widely-held ideas: that knowledge is factive, that we can know that knowledge is factive, and that we can use logical/mathematical reasoning to extend our knowledge via very weak single-premise closure principles. I argue that classical logic, not any of these epistemic principles, is the culprit. I develop a consistent theory validating (...)
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  • Non-Measurability, Imprecise Credences, and Imprecise Chances.Yoaav Isaacs, Alan Hájek & John Hawthorne - forthcoming - Mind:fzab031.
    We offer a new motivation for imprecise probabilities. We argue that there are propositions to which precise probability cannot be assigned, but to which imprecise probability can be assigned. In such cases the alternative to imprecise probability is not precise probability, but no probability at all. And an imprecise probability is substantially better than no probability at all. Our argument is based on the mathematical phenomenon of non-measurable sets. Non-measurable propositions cannot receive precise probabilities, but there is a natural way (...)
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  • Cut-off points for the rational believer.Lina Maria Lissia - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-19.
    I show that the Lottery Paradox is just a version of the Sorites, and argue that this should modify our way of looking at the Paradox itself. In particular, I focus on what I call “the Cut-off Point Problem” and contend that this problem, well known by Sorites scholars, ought to play a key role in the debate on Kyburg’s puzzle. Very briefly, I show that, in the Lottery Paradox, the premises “ticket n°1 will lose”, “ticket n°2 will lose”… “ticket (...)
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  • Interpreting plural predication: homogeneity and non-maximality.Manuel Križ & Benjamin Spector - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (5):1131-1178.
    Plural definite descriptions across many languages display two well-known properties. First, they can give rise to so-called non-maximal readings, in the sense that they ‘allow for exceptions’. Second, while they tend to have a quasi-universal quantificational force in affirmative sentences, they tend to be interpreted existentially in the scope of negation. Building on previous works, we offer a theory in which sentences containing plural definite expressions trigger a family of possible interpretations, and where general principles of language use account for (...)
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  • Belief, Credence, and Norms.Lara Buchak - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):1-27.
    There are currently two robust traditions in philosophy dealing with doxastic attitudes: the tradition that is concerned primarily with all-or-nothing belief, and the tradition that is concerned primarily with degree of belief or credence. This paper concerns the relationship between belief and credence for a rational agent, and is directed at those who may have hoped that the notion of belief can either be reduced to credence or eliminated altogether when characterizing the norms governing ideally rational agents. It presents a (...)
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  • The Stability Theory of Belief.Hannes Leitgeb - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (2):131-171.
    This essay develops a joint theory of rational (all-or-nothing) belief and degrees of belief. The theory is based on three assumptions: the logical closure of rational belief; the axioms of probability for rational degrees of belief; and the so-called Lockean thesis, in which the concepts of rational belief and rational degree of belief figure simultaneously. In spite of what is commonly believed, this essay will show that this combination of principles is satisfiable (and indeed nontrivially so) and that the principles (...)
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  • A Normatively Adequate Credal Reductivism.Justin M. Dallmann - 2014 - Synthese 191 (10):2301-2313.
    It is a prevalent, if not popular, thesis in the metaphysics of belief that facts about an agent’s beliefs depend entirely upon facts about that agent’s underlying credal state. Call this thesis ‘credal reductivism’ and any view that endorses this thesis a ‘credal reductivist view’. An adequate credal reductivist view will accurately predict both when belief occurs and which beliefs are held appropriately, on the basis of credal facts alone. Several well-known—and some lesser known—objections to credal reductivism turn on the (...)
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  • Defeasible Conditionalization.Paul D. Thorn - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (2-3):283-302.
    The applicability of Bayesian conditionalization in setting one’s posterior probability for a proposition, α, is limited to cases where the value of a corresponding prior probability, PPRI(α|∧E), is available, where ∧E represents one’s complete body of evidence. In order to extend probability updating to cases where the prior probabilities needed for Bayesian conditionalization are unavailable, I introduce an inference schema, defeasible conditionalization, which allows one to update one’s personal probability in a proposition by conditioning on a proposition that represents a (...)
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  • Explanation = Unification? A New Criticism of Friedman’s Theory and a Reply to an Old One.Roche William & Sober Elliott - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):391-413.
    According to Michael Friedman’s theory of explanation, a law X explains laws Y1, Y2, …, Yn precisely when X unifies the Y’s, where unification is understood in terms of reducing the number of independently acceptable laws. Philip Kitcher criticized Friedman’s theory but did not analyze the concept of independent acceptability. Here we show that Kitcher’s objection can be met by modifying an element in Friedman’s account. In addition, we argue that there are serious objections to the use that Friedman makes (...)
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  • Aggregating Causal Judgments.Richard Bradley, Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (4):491-515.
    Decision-making typically requires judgments about causal relations: we need to know the causal effects of our actions and the causal relevance of various environmental factors. We investigate how several individuals' causal judgments can be aggregated into collective causal judgments. First, we consider the aggregation of causal judgments via the aggregation of probabilistic judgments, and identify the limitations of this approach. We then explore the possibility of aggregating causal judgments independently of probabilistic ones. Formally, we introduce the problem of causal-network aggregation. (...)
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  • Divisive Conditioning: Further Results on Dilation.Timothy Herron, Teddy Seidenfeld & Larry Wasserman - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (3):411-444.
    Conditioning can make imprecise probabilities uniformly more imprecise. We call this effect "dilation". In a previous paper (1993), Seidenfeld and Wasserman established some basic results about dilation. In this paper we further investigate dilation on several models. In particular, we consider conditions under which dilation persists under marginalization and we quantify the degree of dilation. We also show that dilation manifests itself asymptotically in certain robust Bayesian models and we characterize the rate at which dilation occurs.
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  • Coming to Terms with Our Human Fallibility: Christensen on the Preface.Mark Kaplan - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):1-35.
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  • Against Deductive Closure.Paul D. Thorn - 2017 - Theoria 83 (2):103-119.
    The present article illustrates a conflict between the claim that rational belief sets are closed under deductive consequences, and a very inclusive claim about the factors that are sufficient to determine whether it is rational to believe respective propositions. Inasmuch as it is implausible to hold that the factors listed here are insufficient to determine whether it is rational to believe respective propositions, we have good reason to deny that rational belief sets are closed under deductive consequences.
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  • Bootstrapping in General.Jonathan Weisberg - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):525-548.
    The bootstrapping problem poses a general challenge, afflicting even strongly internalist theories. Even if one must always know that one’s source is reliable to gain knowledge from it, bootstrapping is still possible. I survey some solutions internalists might offer and defend the one I find most plausible: that bootstrapping involves an abuse of inductive reasoning akin to generalizing from a small or biased sample. I also argue that this solution is equally available to the reliabilist. The moral is that the (...)
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  • The Norms of Acceptance.Joëlle Proust - 2012 - Philosophical Issues 22 (1):316-333.
    An area in the theory of action that has received little attention is how mental agency and world-directed agency interact. The purpose of the present contribution is to clarify the rational conditions of such interaction, through an analysis of the central case of acceptance. There are several problems with the literature about acceptance. First, it remains unclear how a context of acceptance is to be construed. Second, the possibility of conjoining, in acceptance, an epistemic component, which is essentially mind-to-world, and (...)
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  • The Relationship Between Belief and Credence.Elizabeth G. Jackson - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (6):1–13.
    Sometimes epistemologists theorize about belief, a tripartite attitude on which one can believe, withhold belief, or disbelieve a proposition. In other cases, epistemologists theorize about credence, a fine-grained attitude that represents one’s subjective probability or confidence level toward a proposition. How do these two attitudes relate to each other? This article explores the relationship between belief and credence in two categories: descriptive and normative. It then explains the broader significance of the belief-credence connection and concludes with general lessons from the (...)
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  • Plantinga’s Probability Arguments Against Evolutionary Naturalism.Branden Fitelson & Elliott Sober - 1998 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 79 (2):115–129.
    In Chapter 12 of Warrant and Proper Function, Alvin Plantinga constructs two arguments against evolutionary naturalism, which he construes as a conjunction E&N .The hypothesis E says that “human cognitive faculties arose by way of the mechanisms to which contemporary evolutionary thought directs our attention (p.220).”1 With respect to proposition N , Plantinga (p. 270) says “it isn’t easy to say precisely what naturalism is,” but then adds that “crucial to metaphysical naturalism, of course, is the view that there is (...)
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  • Clarity and the Grammar of Skepticism.Chris Barker - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (3):253-273.
    Why ever assert clarity? If It is clear that p is true, then saying so should be at best superfluous. Barker and Taranto (2003) and Taranto (2006) suggest that asserting clarity reveals information about the beliefs of the discourse participants, specifically, that they both believe that p . However, mutual belief is not sufficient to guarantee clarity ( It is clear that God exists ). I propose instead that It is clear that p means instead (roughly) 'the publicly available evidence (...)
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  • On Argument Strength.Niki Pfeifer - 2013 - In Frank Zenker (ed.), Bayesian argumentation. The practical side of probability. Dordrecht, Netherlands: pp. 185-193.
    Everyday life reasoning and argumentation is defeasible and uncertain. I present a probability logic framework to rationally reconstruct everyday life reasoning and argumentation. Coherence in the sense of de Finetti is used as the basic rationality norm. I discuss two basic classes of approaches to construct measures of argument strength. The first class imposes a probabilistic relation between the premises and the conclusion. The second class imposes a deductive relation. I argue for the second class, as the first class is (...)
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  • Self-Knowledge Requirements and Moore's Paradox.David James Barnett - 2021 - Philosophical Review 130 (2):227-262.
    Is self-knowledge a requirement of rationality, like consistency, or means-ends coherence? Many claim so, citing the evident impropriety of asserting, and the alleged irrationality of believing, Moore-paradoxical propositions of the form < p, but I don't believe that p>. If there were nothing irrational about failing to know one's own beliefs, they claim, then there would be nothing irrational about Moore-paradoxical assertions or beliefs. This article considers a few ways the data surrounding Moore's paradox might be marshaled to support rational (...)
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