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Gustavo Cevolani
IMT School For Advanced Studies Lucca
  1. Verisimilitude and Belief Change for Conjunctive Theories.Gustavo Cevolani, Vincenzo Crupi & Roberto Festa - 2011 - Erkenntnis 75 (2):183-202.
    Theory change is a central concern in contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science. In this paper, we investigate the relationships between two ongoing research programs providing formal treatments of theory change: the (post-Popperian) approach to verisimilitude and the AGM theory of belief change. We show that appropriately construed accounts emerging from those two lines of epistemological research do yield convergences relative to a specified kind of theories, here labeled “conjunctive”. In this domain, a set of plausible conditions are identified which (...)
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  2. Progress as Approximation to the Truth: A Defence of the Verisimilitudinarian Approach.Gustavo Cevolani & Luca Tambolo - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (4):921-935.
    In this paper we provide a compact presentation of the verisimilitudinarian approach to scientific progress (VS, for short) and defend it against the sustained attack recently mounted by Alexander Bird (2007). Advocated by such authors as Ilkka Niiniluoto and Theo Kuipers, VS is the view that progress can be explained in terms of the increasing verisimilitude (or, equivalently, truthlikeness, or approximation to the truth) of scientific theories. According to Bird, VS overlooks the central issue of the appropriate grounding of scientific (...)
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  3.  2
    Unfolding the Grammar of Bayseian Confirmation: Likelihood and Antilikelihood Principles.Roberto Festa & Gustavo Cevolani - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):56-81.
    We explore the grammar of Bayesian confirmation by focusing on some likelihood principles, including the Weak Law of Likelihood. We show that none of the likelihood principles proposed so far is satisfied by all incremental measures of confirmation, and we argue that some of these measures indeed obey new, prima facie strange, antilikelihood principles. To prove this, we introduce a new measure that violates the Weak Law of Likelihood while satisfying a strong antilikelihood condition. We conclude by hinting at some (...)
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  4.  5
    A Partial Consequence Account of Truthlikeness.Gustavo Cevolani & Roberto Festa - 2018 - Synthese:1-20.
    Popper’s original definition of truthlikeness relied on a central insight: that truthlikeness combines truth and information, in the sense that a proposition is closer to the truth the more true consequences and the less false consequences it entails. As intuitively compelling as this definition may be, it is untenable, as proved long ago; still, one can arguably rely on Popper’s intuition to provide an adequate account of truthlikeness. To this aim, we mobilize some classical work on partial entailment in defining (...)
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  5. L'ingranaggio della cooperazione. Teorie dei giochi, cooperazione spontanea e produzione di beni pubblici.Gustavo Cevolani & Roberto Festa - 2014 - In Carlo Lottieri & Daniele Velo Dalbrenta (eds.), La città volontaria. IBL Libri. pp. 23-63.
    A survey of some game-theoretic accounts of the emergence and evolution of spontaneuous cooperation in social and public-good dilemmas.
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  6. Verisimilitude and Belief Change for Nomic Conjunctive Theories.Gustavo Cevolani, Roberto Festa & Theo A. F. Kuipers - 2013 - Synthese 190 (16):3307-3324.
    In this paper, we address the problem of truth approximation through theory change, asking whether revising our theories by newly acquired data leads us closer to the truth about a given domain. More particularly, we focus on “nomic conjunctive theories”, i.e., theories expressed as conjunctions of logically independent statements concerning the physical or, more generally, nomic possibilities and impossibilities of the domain under inquiry. We define both a comparative and a quantitative notion of the verisimilitude of such theories, and identify (...)
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  7. Approaching the Truth Via Belief Change in Propositional Languages.Gustavo Cevolani & Francesco Calandra - 2010 - In M. Suàrez, M. Dorato & M. Rèdei (eds.), EPSA Epistemology and Methodology of Science: Launch of the European Philosophy of Science Association. Springer. pp. 47--62.
    Starting from the sixties of the past century theory change has become a main concern of philosophy of science. Two of the best known formal accounts of theory change are the post-Popperian theories of verisimilitude (PPV for short) and the AGM theory of belief change (AGM for short). In this paper, we will investigate the conceptual relations between PPV and AGM and, in particular, we will ask whether the AGM rules for theory change are effective means for approaching the truth, (...)
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  8. The Whole Truth About Linda: Probability, Verisimilitude and a Paradox of Conjunction.Gustavo Cevolani, Vincenzo Crupi & Roberto Festa - 2010 - In Marcello D'Agostino, Federico Laudisa, Giulio Giorello, Telmo Pievani & Corrado Sinigaglia (eds.), New Essays in Logic and Philosophy of Science. College Publications. pp. 603--615.
    We provide a 'verisimilitudinarian' analysis of the well-known Linda paradox or conjunction fallacy, i.e., the fact that most people judge the probability of the conjunctive statement "Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement" (B & F) as more probable than the isolated statement "Linda is a bank teller" (B), contrary to an uncontroversial principle of probability theory. The basic idea is that experimental participants may judge B & F a better hypothesis about Linda as compared (...)
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  9.  55
    Truth Approximation, Belief Merging, and Peer Disagreement.Gustavo Cevolani - 2014 - Synthese 191 (11):2383-2401.
    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 (...)
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  10.  7
    Carnapian Truthlikeness.Gustavo Cevolani - 2016 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 24 (4):542-556.
    Theories of truthlikeness (or verisimilitude) are currently being classified according to two independent distinctions: that between ‘content’ and ‘likeness’ accounts, and that between ‘conjunctive’ and ‘disjunctive’ ones. In this article, I present and discuss a new definition of truthlikeness, which employs Carnap’s notion of the content elements entailed by a theory or proposition, and is then labelled ‘Carnapian’. After studying in detail the properties and shortcomings of this definition, I argue that it occupies a unique position in the landscape of (...)
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  11. Giochi, dilemmi sociali e scelte collettive.Gustavo Cevolani - 2008 - In Anthony de Jasay (ed.), Scelta, Contratto, Consenso. Rubbettino/Leonardo Facco. pp. 13--56.
    This is the introductory essay to the Italian translation of Anthony de Jasay's "Choice, contract, and consent. A restatement of liberalism".
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  12. Giochi di altruismo. L'approccio evoluzionistico alla cooperazione umana.Gustavo Cevolani & Roberto Festa - 2012 - In Matt Ridley (ed.), Le Origini della Virtù. IBL Libri. pp. 7--38.
    This is the introductory essay to the Italian translation of Matt Ridley's "The origins of virtue", surveying the game-theoretic and evolutionary approaches to the emergence and evolution of cooperation and altruism.
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  13.  52
    Probability, Approximate Truth, and Truthlikeness: More Ways Out of the Preface Paradox.Gustavo Cevolani & Gerhard Schurz - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):209-225.
    The so-called Preface Paradox seems to show that one can rationally believe two logically incompatible propositions. We address this puzzle, relying on the notions of truthlikeness and approximate truth as studied within the post-Popperian research programme on verisimilitude. In particular, we show that adequately combining probability, approximate truth, and truthlikeness leads to an explanation of how rational belief is possible in the face of the Preface Paradox. We argue that our account is superior to other solutions of the paradox, including (...)
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  14. Giochi di anarchia. Beni pubblici, teoria dei giochi e anarco-liberalismo.Gustavo Cevolani & Roberto Festa - 2011 - Nuova Civiltà Delle Macchine 29 (1-2):163-180.
    The paper focuses on Anthony de Jasay's "anarcho-liberalism" as based oon his game-theoretic approach to the problem of public goods provision.
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  15. A Verisimilitudinarian Analysis of the Linda Paradox.Gustavo Cevolani, Vincenzo Crupi & Roberto Festa - 2012 - VII Conference of the Spanish Society for Logic, Methodology and Philosphy of Science.
    The Linda paradox is a key topic in current debates on the rationality of human reasoning and its limitations. We present a novel analysis of this paradox, based on the notion of verisimilitude as studied in the philosophy of science. The comparison with an alternative analysis based on probabilistic confirmation suggests how to overcome some problems of our account by introducing an adequately defined notion of verisimilitudinarian confirmation.
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  16.  14
    Generalized Information Theory Meets Human Cognition: Introducing a Unified Framework to Model Uncertainty and Information Search.Vincenzo Crupi, Jonathan D. Nelson, Björn Meder, Gustavo Cevolani & Katya Tentori - 2018 - Cognitive Science 42 (5):1410-1456.
    Searching for information is critical in many situations. In medicine, for instance, careful choice of a diagnostic test can help narrow down the range of plausible diseases that the patient might have. In a probabilistic framework, test selection is often modeled by assuming that people’s goal is to reduce uncertainty about possible states of the world. In cognitive science, psychology, and medical decision making, Shannon entropy is the most prominent and most widely used model to formalize probabilistic uncertainty and the (...)
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  17. Truth Approximation Via Abductive Belief Change.Gustavo Cevolani - 2013 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 21 (6):999-1016.
    We investigate the logical and conceptual connections between abductive reasoning construed as a process of belief change, on the one hand, and truth approximation, construed as increasing (estimated) verisimilitude, on the other. We introduce the notion of ‘(verisimilitude-guided) abductive belief change’ and discuss under what conditions abductively changing our theories or beliefs does lead them closer to the truth, and hence tracks truth approximation conceived as the main aim of inquiry. The consequences of our analysis for some recent discussions concerning (...)
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  18.  3
    Approaching Truth in Conceptual Spaces.Gustavo Cevolani - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-16.
    Knowledge representation is a central issue in a number of areas, but few attempts are usually made to bridge different approaches accross different fields. As a contribution in this direction, in this paper I focus on one such approach, the theory of conceptual spaces developed within cognitive science, and explore its potential applications in the fields of philosophy of science and formal epistemology. My case-study is provided by the theory of truthlikeness, construed as closeness to “the whole truth” about a (...)
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  19.  92
    Verisimilitude and Strongly Semantic Information.Gustavo Cevolani - 2011 - Etica E Politica 13 (2):159-179.
    In The Philosophy of Information, Luciano Floridi presents a theory of “strongly semantic information”, based on the idea that “information encapsulates truth” . Starting with Popper, philosophers of science have developed different explications of the notion of verisimilitude or truthlikeness, construed as a combination of truth and information. Thus, the theory of strongly semantic information and the theory of verisimilitude are intimately tied. Yet, with few exceptions, this link has virtually pass unnoticed. In this paper, we briefly survey both theories (...)
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  20. Hayek in the Lab. Austrian School, Game Theory, and Experimental Economics.Gustavo Cevolani - 2011 - Logic and Philosophy of Science 9 (1):429-436.
    Focusing on the work of Friedrich von Hayek and Vernon Smith, we discuss some conceptual links between Austrian economics and recent work in behavioral game theory and experimental economics. After a brief survey of the main methodological aspects of Austrian and experimental economics, we suggest that common views on subjectivism, individualism, and the role of qualitative explanations and predictions in social science may favour a fruitful interaction between these two research programs.
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  21.  47
    Fallibilism, Verisimilitude, and the Preface Paradox.Gustavo Cevolani - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (1):169-183.
    The Preface Paradox apparently shows that it is sometimes rational to believe logically incompatible propositions. In this paper, I propose a way out of the paradox based on the ideas of fallibilism and verisimilitude. More precisely, I defend the view that a rational inquirer can fallibly believe or accept a proposition which is false, or likely false, but verisimilar; and I argue that this view makes the Preface Paradox disappear. Some possible objections to my proposal, and an alternative view of (...)
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  22. Strongly Semantic Information and Verisimilitude.Gustavo Cevolani - 2011 - Etica and Politica / Ethics and Politics (2):159-179.
    In The Philosophy of Information, Luciano Floridi presents a theory of “strongly semantic information”, based on the idea that “information encapsulates truth” (the so-called “veridicality thesis”). Starting with Popper, philosophers of science have developed different explications of the notion of verisimilitude or truthlikeness, construed as a combination of truth and information. Thus, the theory of strongly semantic information and the theory of verisimilitude are intimately tied. Yet, with few exceptions, this link has virtually pass unnoticed. In this paper, we briefly (...)
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  23.  55
    Truth May Not Explain Predictive Success, but Truthlikeness Does.Gustavo Cevolani & Luca Tambolo - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (4):590-593.
    In a recent paper entitled “Truth does not explain predictive success” , Carsten Held argues that the so-called “No-Miracles Argument” for scientific realism is easily refuted when the consequences of the underdetermination of theories by the evidence are taken into account. We contend that the No-Miracles Argument, when it is deployed within the context of sophisticated versions of realism, based on the notion of truthlikeness , survives Held’s criticism unscathed.
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  24.  83
    "Merely a Logician's Toy?" Belief Revision Confronting Scientific Theory Change. [REVIEW]Gustavo Cevolani & Roberto Festa - 2012 - Metascience 21 (2):463-466.
    Review of Olsson, Erik J. and Enqvist, Sebastian , Belief Revision meets Philosophy of Science.
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  25.  2
    Generalized Information Theory Meets Human Cognition: Introducing a Unified Framework to Model Uncertainty and Information Search.Vincenzo Crupi, Jonathan D. Nelson, Björn Meder, Gustavo Cevolani & Katya Tentori - forthcoming - Cognitive Science.
    Searching for information is critical in many situations. In medicine, for instance, careful choice of a diagnostic test can help narrow down the range of plausible diseases that the patient might have. In a probabilistic framework, test selection is often modeled by assuming that people’s goal is to reduce uncertainty about possible states of the world. In cognitive science, psychology, and medical decision making, Shannon entropy is the most prominent and most widely used model to formalize probabilistic uncertainty and the (...)
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  26.  23
    A Systematic Companion to “Neoclassical” Philosophy of Science.Gustavo Cevolani - 2015 - Metascience 24 (2):295-299.
    After the demise of logical empiricism in the late fifties of the past century, philosophy of science entered a sort of Kuhnian revolutionary phase. Both its central problems and the methods used to address them underwent a profound change; under the pressure of the “new” philosophy of science—and of the various historical, sociological, cultural, or feminist approaches—the way of doing philosophy championed by Carnap and Popper was progressively abandoned by many scholars interested in the study of science. Today, it is (...)
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  27.  2
    Exploring and Extending the Landscape of Conjunctive Approaches to Verisimilitude.Gustavo Cevolani & Roberto Festa - 2018 - In Alessandro Giordani & Ciro de Florio (eds.), From Arithmetic to Metaphysics: A Path Through Philosophical Logic. De Gruyter. pp. 69-88.
    Starting with Popper, philosophers and logicians have proposed different accounts of verisimilitude or truthlikeness. One way of classifying such accounts is to distinguish between “conjunctive” and “disjunctive” ones. In this paper, we focus on our own “basic feature” approach to verisimilitude, which naturally belongs to the conjunctive family. We start by surveying the landscape of conjunctive accounts; then, we introduce two new measures of verisimilitude and discuss their properties; finally, we conclude by hinting at some surprising relations between our conjunctive (...)
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  28.  7
    Guest Editor's Preface.Gustavo Cevolani - 2013 - Etica E Politica 15 (2):7-13.
    Preface to a special section on "Cooperation in nature, science, and society".
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