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John Pollock
University of Edinburgh
  1. Contemporary Theories of Knowledge.John L. Pollock - 1986 - Hutchinson.
    This new edition of the classic Contemporary Theories of Knowledge has been significantly updated to include analyses of the recent literature in epistemology.
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  2.  20
    Cognitive Carpentry.John L. Pollock - 1995 - MIT Press.
    "A sequel to Pollock's How to Build a Person, this volume builds upon that theoretical groundwork for the implementation of rationality through artificial ...
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  3. Defeasible Reasoning.John Pollock - 1987 - Cognitive Science 11 (4):481-518.
    There was a long tradition in philosophy according to which good reasoning had to be deductively valid. However, that tradition began to be questioned in the 1960’s, and is now thoroughly discredited. What caused its downfall was the recognition that many familiar kinds of reasoning are not deductively valid, but clearly confer justification on their conclusions. Here are some simple examples.
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  4.  16
    How to Build a Person: A Prolegomenon.John L. Pollock - 1989 - MIT Press.
    Pollock describes an exciting theory of rationality and its partial implementation in OSCAR, a computer system whose descendants will literally be persons.
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  5.  21
    Thinking About Acting: Logical Foundations for Rational Decision Making.John L. Pollock - 2006 - Oxford University Press, Usa.
    Pollock argues that theories of ideal rationality are largely irrelevant to the decision making of real agents. Thinking about Acting aims to provide a theory of "real rationality.".
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  6. Knowledge and Justification.John Pollock - 1970 - Princeton University Press.
    Princeton University Press, 1974. This book is out of print, but can be downloaded as a pdf file (5 MB).
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  7. Resurrecting Old-Fashioned Foundationalism.Richard Fumerton, Laurence Bonjour, John L. Pollock & Alvin Plantinga - 2000 - Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    The contributions in this volume make an important effort to resurrect a rather old fashioned form of foundationalism. They defend the position that there are some beliefs that are justified, and are not themselves justified by any further beliefs. This epistemic foundationalism has been the subject of rigorous attack by a wide range of theorists in recent years, leading to the impression that foundationalism is a thing of the past. DePaul argues that it is precisely the volume and virulence of (...)
     
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  8.  17
    Nomic Probability and the Foundations of Induction.John L. Pollock - 1990 - Oxford University Press.
    In this book Pollock deals with the subject of probabilistic reasoning, making general philosophical sense of objective probabilities and exploring their ...
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  9. Contemporary Theories of Knowledge.John Pollock - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (1):167-171.
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  10.  58
    Subjunctive Reasoning.John Pollock - 1976 - Reidel.
    Reidel, 1976. This book is out of print, but can be downloaded as a pdf file (3.3 MB).
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  11.  1
    Nationwide Newspaper Coverage of Rape and Rape Culture on College Campuses: Testing Community Structure Theory.John C. Pollock, Brielle Richardella, Amanda Jahr, Melissa Morgan & Judi Puritz Cook - 2018 - Human Rights Review 19 (2):229-248.
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  12. ``Defeasible Reasoning with Variable Degrees of Justification&Quot.John Pollock - 2001 - Artificial Intelligence 133:233-282.
    The question addressed in this paper is how the degree of justification of a belief is determined. A conclusion may be supported by several different arguments, the arguments typically being defeasible, and there may also be arguments of varying strengths for defeaters for some of the supporting arguments. What is sought is a way of computing the “on sum” degree of justification of a conclusion in terms of the degrees of justification of all relevant premises and the strengths of all (...)
     
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  13. The Foundations of Philosophical Semantics.John L. Pollock - 1984 - Princeton University Press.
    Princeton University Press, 984. This book is out of print, but can be downloaded as a pdf file (3.9 MB).
     
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  14.  44
    Thinking About Acting.John L. Pollock - unknown
    The objective of this book is to produce a theory of rational decision making for realistically resource-bounded agents. My interest is not in “What should I do if I were an ideal agent?”, but rather, “What should I do given that I am who I am, with all my actual cognitive limitations?” The book has three parts. Part One addresses the question of where the values come from that agents use in rational decision making. The most comon view among philosophers (...)
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  15.  60
    Rational Choice and Action Omnipotence.John L. Pollock - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (1):1-23.
    Counterexamples are constructed for the theory of rational choice that results from a direct application of classical decision theory to ordinary actions. These counterexamples turn on the fact that an agent may be unable to perform an action, and may even be unable to try to perform an action. An alternative theory of rational choice is proposed that evaluates actions using a more complex measure, and then it is shown that this is equivalent to applying classical decision theory to "conditional (...)
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  16. Vision, Knowledge, and the Mystery Link.John L. Pollock & Iris Oved - 2005 - Noûs 39 (1):309-351.
    Imagine yourself sitting on your front porch, sipping your morning coffee and admiring the scene before you. You see trees, houses, people, automobiles; you see a cat running across the road, and a bee buzzing among the flowers. You see that the flowers are yellow, and blowing in the wind. You see that the people are moving about, many of them on bicycles. You see that the houses are painted different colors, mostly earth tones, and most are one-story but a (...)
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  17. Contemporary Theories of Knowledge.John Pollock - 1988 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 39 (1):131-140.
     
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  18. Epistemic Norms.John Pollock - 1987 - Synthese 71 (1):61 - 95.
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  19.  98
    Language and Thought.John L. Pollock - 1982 - Princeton University Press.
    Princeton University Press, 1982. This book is out of print, but can be downloaded as a pdf file (5 MB).
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  20.  10
    Philosophy and AI: Essays at the Interface.Robert C. Cummins & John L. Pollock (eds.) - 1992 - MIT Press.
    Philosophy and AI presents invited contributions that focus on the different perspectives and techniques that philosophy and AI bring to the theory of ...
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  21. The Chimerical Appeal of Epistemic Externalism.Joe Cruz & John Pollock - 2004 - In Richard Schantz (ed.), The Externalist Challenge. De Gruyter. pp. 125--42.
    Internalism in epistemology is the view that all the factors relevant to the justification of a belief are importantly internal to the believer, while externalism is the view that at least some of those factors are external. This extremely modest first approximation cries out for refinement (which we undertake below), but is enough to orient us in the right direction, namely that the debate between internalism and externalism is bound up with the controversy over the correct account of the distinction (...)
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  22.  56
    Reliability and Justified Belief.John L. Pollock - 1984 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 14 (1):103 - 114.
    Reliabilist theories propose to analyse epistemic justification in terms of reliability. This paper argues that if we pay attention to the details of probability theory we find that there is no concept of reliability that can possibly play the role required by reliabilist theories. A distinction is drawn between the general reliability of a process and the single case reliability of an individual belief, And it is argued that neither notion can serve the reliabilist adequately.
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  23.  95
    A Resource-Bounded Agent Addresses the Newcomb Problem.John Pollock - 2010 - Synthese 176 (1):57-82.
    In the Newcomb problem, the standard arguments for taking either one box or both boxes adduce what seem to be relevant considerations, but they are not complete arguments, and attempts to complete the arguments rely upon incorrect principles of rational decision making. It is argued that by considering how the predictor is making his prediction, we can generate a more complete argument, and this in turn supports a form of causal decision theory.
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  24. The Structure of Epistemic Justification.John L. Pollock - 1970 - American Philosophical Quarterly 4:62-78.
     
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  25.  71
    Epistemology and Probability.John L. Pollock - 1983 - Noûs 17 (1):65-67.
    Probability is sometimes regarded as a universal panacea for epistemology. It has been supposed that the rationality of belief is almost entirely a matter of probabilities. Unfortunately, those philosophers who have thought about this most extensively have tended to be probability theorists first, and epistemologists only secondarily. In my estimation, this has tended to make them insensitive to the complexities exhibited by epistemic justification. In this paper I propose to turn the tables. I begin by laying out some rather simple (...)
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  26. Cognitive Carpentry a Blueprint for How to Build a Person.John L. Pollock - 1995
     
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  27.  2
    Nomic Probability and the Foundations of Induction.Henry E. Kyburg & John L. Pollock - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (1):115.
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  28.  1
    Knowledge and Justification.Louis E. Loeb & John L. Pollock - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (3):455.
  29.  73
    Reasoning Defeasibly About Probabilities.John L. Pollock - 2011 - Synthese 181 (2):317-352.
    In concrete applications of probability, statistical investigation gives us knowledge of some probabilities, but we generally want to know many others that are not directly revealed by our data. For instance, we may know prob(P/Q) (the probability of P given Q) and prob(P/R), but what we really want is prob(P/Q& R), and we may not have the data required to assess that directly. The probability calculus is of no help here. Given prob(P/Q) and prob(P/R), it is consistent with the probability (...)
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  30.  75
    Probable Probabilities.John Pollock - manuscript
    In concrete applications of probability, statistical investigation gives us knowledge of some probabilities, but we generally want to know many others that are not directly revealed by our data. For instance, we may know prob(P/Q) (the probability of P given Q) and prob(P/R), but what we really want is prob(P/Q&R), and we may not have the data required to assess that directly. The probability calculus is of no help here. Given prob(P/Q) and prob(P/R), it is consistent with the probability calculus (...)
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  31.  87
    Plans And Decisions.John Pollock - 2004 - Theory and Decision 57 (2):79-107.
    Counterexamples are constructed for classical decision theory, turning on the fact that actions must often be chosen in groups rather than individually, i.e., the objects of rational choice are plans. It is argued that there is no way to define optimality for plans that makes the finding of optimal plans the desideratum of rational decision-making. An alternative called “locally global planning” is proposed as a replacement for classical decision theory. Decision-making becomes a non-terminating process without a precise target rather than (...)
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  32.  49
    A Refined Theory of Counterfactuals.John L. Pollock - 1981 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 10 (2):239 - 266.
  33.  27
    How Do You Maximize Expectation Value?John L. Pollock - 1983 - Noûs 17 (3):409-421.
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  34. Problems for Bayesian Epistemology.John L. Pollock - unknown
    In the past, few mainstream epistemologists have endorsed Bayesian epistemology, feeling that it fails to capture the complex structure of epistemic cognition. The defenders of Bayesian epistemology have tended to be probability theorists rather than epistemologists, and I have always suspected they were more attracted by its mathematical elegance than its epistemological realism. But recently Bayesian epistemology has gained a following among younger mainstream epistemologists. I think it is time to rehearse some of the simpler but still quite devastating objections (...)
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  35.  77
    Self-Defeating Arguments.John L. Pollock - 1991 - Minds and Machines 1 (4):367-392.
    An argument is self-defeating when it contains defeaters for some of its own defeasible lines. It is shown that the obvious rules for defeat among arguments do not handle self-defeating arguments correctly. It turns out that they constitute a pervasive phenomenon that threatens to cripple defeasible reasoning, leading to almost all defeasible reasoning being defeated by unexpected interactions with self-defeating arguments. This leads to some important changes in the general theory of defeasible reasoning.
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  36. Belief Revision and Epistemology.John L. Pollock & Anthony S. Gillies - 2000 - Synthese 122 (1-2):69-92.
    Postulational approaches attempt to understand the dynamics of belief revision by appealing to no more than the set of beliefs held by an agent and the logical relations between them. It is argued there that such an approach cannot work. A proper account of belief revision must also appeal to the arguments supporting beliefs, and recognize that those arguments can be defeasible. If we begin with a mature epistemological theory that accommodates this, it can be seen that the belief revision (...)
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  37. So You Think You Exist? — In Defense of Nolipsism.John L. Pollock & Jenann Ismael - 2006 - In Thomas M. Crisp, Matthew Davidson & David Vander Laan (eds.), Knowledge and Reality: Essays in Honor of Alvin Plantinga. Springer.
    Human beings think of themselves in terms of a privileged non-descriptive designator — a mental “I”. Such thoughts are called “_de se_” thoughts. The mind/body problem is the problem of deciding what kind of thing I am, and it can be regarded as arising from the fact that we think of ourselves non-descriptively. Why do we think of ourselves in this way? We investigate the functional role of “I” (and also “here” and “now”) in cognition, arguing that the use of (...)
     
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  38.  28
    A Theory of Direct Inference.John L. Pollock - 1983 - Theory and Decision 15 (1):29-95.
  39.  68
    The Paradox of the Preface.John L. Pollock - 1986 - Philosophy of Science 53 (2):246-258.
    In a number of recent papers I have been developing the theory of "nomic probability," which is supposed to be the kind of probability involved in statistical laws of nature. One of the main principles of this theory is an acceptance rule explicitly designed to handle the lottery paradox. This paper shows that the rule can also handle the paradox of the preface. The solution proceeds in part by pointing out a surprising connection between the paradox of the preface and (...)
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  40.  7
    The Logical Foundations of Means-End Reasoning.John L. Pollock - 2002 - In Renée Elio (ed.), Common Sense, Reasoning, & Rationality. Oxford University Press. pp. 60.
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  41. Nomic Probability.John L. Pollock - 1984 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 9 (1):177-204.
  42. The Theory of Nomic Probability.John L. Pollock - 1992 - Synthese 90 (2):263 - 299.
    This article sketches a theory of objective probability focusing on nomic probability, which is supposed to be the kind of probability figuring in statistical laws of nature. The theory is based upon a strengthened probability calculus and some epistemological principles that formulate a precise version of the statistical syllogism. It is shown that from this rather minimal basis it is possible to derive theorems comprising (1) a theory of direct inference, and (2) a theory of induction. The theory of induction (...)
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  43.  24
    New Foundations for Practical Reasoning.John L. Pollock - 1992 - Minds and Machines 2 (2):113-144.
    Practical reasoning aims at deciding what actions to perform in light of the goals a rational agent possesses. This has been a topic of interest in both philosophy and artificial intelligence, but these two disciplines have produced very different models of practical reasoning. The purpose of this paper is to examine each model in light of the other and produce a unified model adequate for the purposes of both disciplines and superior to the standard models employed by either.The philosophical (decision-theoretic) (...)
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  44.  66
    Causal Probability.John L. Pollock - 2002 - Synthese 132 (1-2):143 - 185.
    Examples growing out of the Newcomb problem have convinced many people that decision theory should proceed in terms of some kind of causal probability. I endorse this view and define and investigate a variety of causal probability. My definition is related to Skyrms' definition, but proceeds in terms of objective probabilities rather than subjective probabilities and avoids taking causal dependence as a primitive concept.
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  45. Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence.John Pollock - 1990 - Philosophical Perspectives 4:461-498.
  46. What Am I? Virtual Machines and the Mind/Body Problem.John Pollock - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2):237–309.
    When your word processor or email program is running on your computer, this creates a "virtual machine” that manipulates windows, files, text, etc. What is this virtual machine, and what are the virtual objects it manipulates? Many standard arguments in the philosophy of mind have exact analogues for virtual machines and virtual objects, but we do not want to draw the wild metaphysical conclusions that have sometimes tempted philosophers in the philosophy of mind. A computer file is not made of (...)
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  47.  35
    Foundations for Direct Inference.John L. Pollock - 1984 - Theory and Decision 17 (3):221-255.
  48.  76
    Brain in a Vat.John Pollock - 2009 - In Susan Schneider (ed.), Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 17--19.
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  49.  1
    Rational Choice and Action Omnipotence.John L. Pollock - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (1):1.
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  50.  35
    A Solution to the Problem of Induction.John L. Pollock - 1984 - Noûs 18 (3):423-461.
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