The Laws of Belief

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März 2012



Wolfgang Spohn presents the first full account of the dynamic laws of belief, by means of ranking theory, a relative of probability theory which he has pioneered since the 1980s. He offers novel insights into the nature of laws, the theory of causation, inductive reasoning and its experiential base, and a priori principles of reason.


Preface; 1 Introduction; 2 Belief and Its Objects; 3 The Probabilistic Way; 4 The Representation of Belief: Some Standard Moves; 5 Ranking Functions; 6 Reasons and Apriority; 7 Conditional Independence and Ranking Nets; 8 The Measurement of Ranks; 9 Supposing, Updating, and Reflection; 10 Ranks and Probabilities; 11 Comparisons; 12 Laws and Their Confirmation; 13 Ceteris Paribus Conditions and Dispositions; 14 Causation; 15 Objectification; 16 Justification, Perception, and Consciousness; 17 The A Priori Structure of Reasons; Bibliography; Name Index; Subject Index


Wolfgang Spohn studied philosophy, logic/philosophy of science, and mathematics at the University of Munich. He has held positions at the University of Regensburg (1986-91) and the University of Bielefeld (1991-96), and has held a chair in philosophy and philosophy of science at the University of Konstanz since 1996. He is author of three books and over eighty papers, and editor of the journal Erkenntnis.


This is not just another treatise on belief; it is all one needs to know about belief, belief change, belief revision, causation, decisions and their intricate interrelationships. Spohn's ranking theory captures elegantly the dual nature of beliefs which, like probabilities, vary in degree, and change with new evidence and, like logical truths, take on 'yes' or 'no' valyes; we either believe or not in any given proposition. Despite being a comprehensive study in formal epistemology, Spohn's new book reads like a detective story, sprinkled with humor and poetry throughout. A delightful book and a must for anyone who cares about the dynamics of this illusive notion we call belief. Judea Pearl, University of California, Los Angeles Wolfgang Spohn's ranking theory is an innovative and influential contributions to the formal representation of belief revision. This ambitious book sets the theory in a wider philosophical context, connecting it with more general issues in epistemology and with explanation and causal structure. It is an important book, in which fruitful new ideas are worked out rigorously and in detail. Robert Stalnaker, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Spohn has produced a remarkable synthesis of diverse currents in the theory of belief, and offers a fully explicit account of Baconian probability. His book throws fresh light on belief, conditional belief, and belief dynamics; it will no doubt frame discussion of these topics for years to come. Daniel Osherson, Princeton University
EAN: 9780199697502
ISBN: 0199697507
Untertitel: Ranking Theory and Its Philosophical Applications. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Oxford University Press
Erscheinungsdatum: März 2012
Seitenanzahl: XV
Format: gebunden
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