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© 2009

Degrees of Belief

  • Franz Huber
  • Christoph Schmidt-Petri

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 342)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-X
  2. Belief and Degrees of Belief

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Franz Huber
      Pages 1-33
  3. Plain Belief and Degrees of Belief

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 35-35
    2. James Hawthorne
      Pages 49-74
    3. Keith Frankish
      Pages 75-93
  4. What Laws Should Degrees of Belief Obey?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 95-95
    2. Rolf Haenni
      Pages 121-159
    3. Wolfgang Spohn
      Pages 185-228
    4. Alan Hájek
      Pages 229-251
  5. Logical Approaches

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 299-299
    2. David Makinson
      Pages 341-354

About this book

Introduction

The idea that belief comes in degrees is based on the observation that we are more certain of some things than of others. Various theories try to give accounts of how measures of this confidence do or ought to behave, both as far as the internal mental consistency of the agent as well as his betting, or other, behaviour is concerned.

This anthology is the first book to give a balanced overview of these theories. It also explicitly relates these debates to more traditional concerns of the philosophy of language and mind, and epistemic logic, namely how belief simpliciter does or ought to behave. The paradigmatic theory, probabilism (which holds that degrees of belief ought to satisfy the axioms of probability theory) is given most attention, but competing theories, such as Dempster-Shafer theory, possibility theory, and AGM belief revision theory are also considered. Each of these approaches is represented by one of its major proponents.

The papers are specifically written to target advanced undergraduate students with a background in formal methods and beginning graduate students, but they will also serve as first point of reference for academics new to the area.

"This is a fascinating collection that brings together issues in traditional and formal epistemology, and succeeds in posing new challenges for both." Bas C. van Fraassen, San Francisco State University

"This is a splendid collection of essays on degrees of belief. [...] the essays are so clear and general that the book also provides an excellent overview of the field for the non-expert." Frank Arntzenius, University College, Oxford University

"Anyone interested in formal epistemology, or in the implications of formal epistemology for philosophy in general, should read this collection." Brian Weatherson, Rutgers University

 

 

Keywords

Belief Degrees of Belief Dempster-Shafer Formal Epistemology Formal Representations of Belief John Locke Possibility theory Probabilism Probability Theory epistemology idea mind reason

Editors and affiliations

  • Franz Huber
    • 1
  • Christoph Schmidt-Petri
    • 2
  1. 1.Formal Epistemology Research Group Zukunftskolleg and Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Konstanz78457 KonstanzGermany
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Leipzig04009 LeipzigGermany

About the editors

Christoph Schmidt-Petri has been awarded a PhD in Philosophy from the London School of Economics in 2005, where he also held a pre-doctoral Jacobsen Fellowship. He has been a member of the Philosophy, Probability and Modeling Group at the University of Konstanz, the Faculty of Economics at Witten/Herdecke University, and the Departments of Philosophy at the Universities of Glasgow, Saarbrücken and Leipzig. From 2002 till 2008, he has been Managing Editor of Economics and Philosophy. He has published articles in journals such as The Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophy of Science, Analyse & Kritik, and is the editor of several other books in political philosophy and the philosophy of the social sciences.

Franz Huber received his PhD from the University of Erfurt in 2003. From 2002 to 2005 he was postdoctoral researcher in the Philosophy, Probability, and Modeling group at the University of Konstanz. From 2005 to 2007 he was Ahmanson postdoctoral instructor at the California Institute of Technology and then visiting researcher at the Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science at UC Irvine. Since 2008 he is director of the Formal Epistemology Research Group at the University of Konstanz. Huber has published in journals such as Artificial Intelligence, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, The Journal of Philosophical Logic, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy of Science, Studia Logica and Synthese.

Bibliographic information

Reviews

From the reviews:

“Degrees of Belief is a strong collection of essays distinguished by its inclusion of an unusually wide array of approaches to understanding its subject. … the book is best suited for formally proficient advanced students (graduate or upper-level undergraduate) or professionals seeking to explore other approaches to degree of belief than the ones in which they currently work. … Degrees of Belief is an excellent springboard for exploring the many approaches to degrees of belief currently being investigated in the literature.” (Lyle Zynda, Metascience, Vol. 21, 2012)

“This is a fascinating collection that brings together issues in traditional and formal epistemology, and succeeds in posing new challenges for both. Especially notable are the arguments for and against attempted justification of probability representations of opinion, with special reference to self-locating beliefs and rules for updating.” Bas C. van Fraassen, San Francisco State University

“This is a splendid collection of essays on degrees of belief. Contributions are from the leading figures in the field, and, consequently, it contains an authoritative survey and assessment of current accounts of degrees of belief. [...] the essays are so clear and general that the book also provides an excellent overview of the field for the non-expert.” Frank Arntzenius, University College, Oxford University

“Modern Bayesian probabilism sometimes seems under threat from two fronts. Some theorists think that Bayesians can't make sense of traditional concepts such as belief and knowledge. Other theorists think that restrictions on degrees of belief given by probability theory are too restrictive. This collection includes state of the art work on both of these challenges, with both the challenges and the responses well represented. Anyone interested in formal epistemology, or in the implications of formal epistemology for philosophy in general, should read this collection.” Brian Weatherson, Rutgers University