How Serious Is the Paradox of Serious Possibility?

Mind 121 (481):1-36 (2012)
The so-called Paradox of Serious Possibility is usually regarded as showing that the standard axioms of belief revision do not apply to belief sets that are introspectively closed. In this article we argue to the contrary: we suggest a way of dissolving the Paradox of Serious Possibility so that introspective statements are taken to express propositions in the standard sense, which may thus be proper members of belief sets, and accordingly the normal axioms of belief revision apply to them. Instead the paradox is avoided by making explicit, for any occurrence of an introspective modality in the object language, the belief state to which this occurrence refers; this will make it impossible for any doxastic modality to refer to two distinct belief sets within one and the same context of doxastic appraisal. By this move the standard derivation of a contradiction from the theory of belief revision in the presence of introspectively closed belief sets does not go through any more, and indeed the premisses of the Paradox of Serious Possibility become jointly consistent once they are reformulated with our amended introspective modalities only. Additionally, we present a probabilistic version of the Paradox of Serious Possibility which can be avoided in a perfectly analogous manner
Keywords belief revision  Introspection  epistemic paradox
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzs042
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