Truth approximation, belief merging, and peer disagreement

Synthese 191 (11):2383-2401 (2014)

Gustavo Cevolani
IMT School For Advanced Studies Lucca
In this paper, we investigate the problem of truth approximation via belief merging, i.e., we ask whether, and under what conditions, a group of inquirers merging together their beliefs makes progress toward the truth about the underlying domain. We answer this question by proving some formal results on how belief merging operators perform with respect to the task of truth approximation, construed as increasing verisimilitude or truthlikeness. Our results shed new light on the issue of how rational (dis)agreement affects the inquirers’ quest for truth. In particular, they vindicate the intuition that scientific inquiry, and rational discussion in general, benefits from some heterogeneity in opinion and interaction among different viewpoints. The links between our approach and related analyses of truth tracking, judgment aggregation, and opinion dynamics, are also highlighted
Keywords Verisimilitude  Truthlikeness  Truth approximation  Belief merging  Peer disagreement  Theory change  Marketplace of ideas
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-014-0486-2
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge in a Social World.Alvin I. Goldman - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
Critical Scientific Realism.Ilkka Niiniluoto - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
Truthlikeness.Graham Oddie - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia.

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Guest Editor's Preface.Gustavo Cevolani - 2013 - Etica E Politica 15 (2):7-13.

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