Cognitivist Probabilism

In Vit Punochar & Petr Svarny (eds.), The Logica Yearbook 2012. College Publications. pp. 201-213 (2013)
Authors
Paul D. Thorn
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Abstract
In this article, I introduce the term “cognitivism” as a name for the thesis that degrees of belief are equivalent to full beliefs about truth-valued propositions. The thesis (of cognitivism) that degrees of belief are equivalent to full beliefs is equivocal, inasmuch as different sorts of equivalence may be postulated between degrees of belief and full beliefs. The simplest sort of equivalence (and the sort of equivalence that I discuss here) identifies having a given degree of belief with having a full belief with a specific content. This sort of view was proposed in [C. Howson and P. Urbach, Scientific reasoning: the Bayesian approach. Chicago: Open Court (1996)].In addition to embracing a form of cognitivism about degrees of belief, Howson and Urbach argued for a brand of probabilism. I call a view, such as Howson and Urbach’s, which combines probabilism with cognitivism about degrees of belief “cognitivist probabilism”. In order to address some problems with Howson and Urbach’s view, I propose a view that incorperates several of modifications of Howson and Urbach’s version of cognitivist probabilism. The view that I finally propose upholds cognitivism about degrees of belief, but deviates from the letter of probabilism, in allowing that a rational agent’s degrees of belief need not conform to the axioms of probability, in the case where the agent’s cognitive resources are limited.
Keywords Bayesianism  probabilism  Dutch book argument
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