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Functional vs. Relational Approaches to Belief Revision

  • Erik J. OlssonEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science book series (LEUS, volume 21)

Abstract

In belief revision theory there is an on-going debate between functionalists and relationalists that shows little sign of ending in shared agreement. Roughly, functionalists hold that the result of revising a cognitive state with some new datum is a unique rationally determined belief state. Relationalists disagree. In their view, there may be several rationally admissible results of revising a cognitive state with a given datum. In an attempt to contribute to conceptual clarity three ways of drawing the functionalist-relationalist distinction are identified, giving rise to six non-contradictory overall positions. I proceed to consider arguments in the literature for excluding some of these positions on logical, philosophical or other grounds. Finally, I argue that part of what feeds the functionalist-relationalist controversy is a false dilemma based on an implausible conception of what it means rationally to suspend judgment. Making this precise requires a formal framework that includes a representation of the agent’s research agenda.

Keywords

Epistemic State Belief Revision Belief State Belief Change Revision Function 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lund UniversityLundSweden

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