Synthese 196 (7):2803-2820 (2019)

Authors
Rafael Ventura
University of Pennsylvania
Abstract
As the content of propositional attitudes, propositions are usually taken to help explain the behavior of rational agents. However, a closer look at signaling games suggests otherwise: rational agents often acquire partial beliefs, and many of their signals are ambiguous. Signaling games also suggest that it is rational for agents to mix their behavior in response to partial beliefs and ambiguous signals. But as I show in this paper, propositions cannot help explain the mixing behavior of rational agents: to explain mixing behavior, we need a probabilistic notion of content. I also show that a probabilistic notion of content renders propositions explanatorily idle in the case of unambiguous signals and full beliefs as well. My suggestion is thus that we should abandon propositions in explanations of rational behavior and adopt instead a probabilistic notion of content. The notion of probabilistic content ultimately provides a simpler framework for explanations of rational behavior than the notion of propositional content.
Keywords signaling game  ambiguous signal  partial belief
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-017-1580-z
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,206
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and the Flow of Information.F. Dretske - 1989 - Trans/Form/Ação 12:133-139.
Common Ground.Robert C. Stalnaker - 2002 - Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (5-6):701-721.
Assertion.Robert C. Stalnaker - 1978 - In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. pp. 179.

View all 32 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Models, Information and Meaning.Marc Artiga - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 82:101284.
Models, Information and Meaning.Dr Marc Artiga - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 82:101284.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Flow of Information in Signaling Games.Brian Skyrms - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 147 (1):155 - 165.
John Maynard Smith’s Notion of Animal Signals.Ulrich E. Stegmann - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (5):1011-1025.
Belief Content and Belief State.Alexei Cherniak - 2015 - Epistemology and Philosophy of Science 45 (3):98-117.
Beliefs as Signals: A New Function for Belief.Eric Funkhouser - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (6):809-831.
Intentionality and Teleological Error.Paul Pietroski - 1992 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 73 (3):267-82.
Narrow Content.Robert Stalnaker - 1990 - In C. Anthony Anderson & Joseph Owens (eds.), Propositional Attitudes: The Role of Content in Logic, Language, and Mind. Stanford: Csli.
Success Semantics and Partial Belief.Weng Hong Tang - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Research 39:17-22.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-10-05

Total views
42 ( #254,636 of 2,448,343 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #117,711 of 2,448,343 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes