The Stability of Belief: How Rational Belief Coheres with Probability

Hardcover | March 16, 2017

byHannes Leitgeb

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In everyday life we normally express our beliefs in all-or-nothing terms: I believe it is going to rain; I don't believe that my lottery ticket will win. In other cases, if possible, we resort to numerical probabilities: my degree of belief that it is going to rain is 80%; the probability thatI assign to my ticket winning is one in a million. It is an open philosophical question how all-or-nothing belief and numerical belief relate to each other, and how we ought to reason with them simultaneously. The Stability of Belief develops a theory of rational belief that aims to answer thisquestion by building new bridges between logic and probability theory, traditional and mathematical epistemology, and theoretical and practical rationality. Hannes Leitgeb develops a joint normative theory of all-or-nothing belief and numerical degrees of belief. While rational all-or-nothing belief is studied in traditional epistemology and is usually assumed to obey logical norms, rational degrees of belief constitute the subject matter of Bayesianepistemology and are normally taken to conform to probabilistic norms. One of the central open questions in formal epistemology is what beliefs and degrees of belief have to be like in order for them to cohere with each other. The answer defended in this book is a stability account of belief: arational agent believes a proposition just in case the agent assigns a stably high degree of belief to it. Leitgeb determines this theory's consequences for, and applications to, learning, suppositional reasoning, decision-making, assertion, acceptance, conditionals, and chance. The volume buildsnew bridges between logic and probability theory, traditional and formal epistemology, theoretical and practical rationality, and synchronic and diachronic norms for reasoning.

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In everyday life we normally express our beliefs in all-or-nothing terms: I believe it is going to rain; I don't believe that my lottery ticket will win. In other cases, if possible, we resort to numerical probabilities: my degree of belief that it is going to rain is 80%; the probability thatI assign to my ticket winning is one in a m...

Hannes Leitgeb completed PhDs in mathematics and philosophy, both at the University of Salzburg, where he also worked as an Assistant Professor in philosophy. In 2003 he received an Erwin-Schroedinger Fellowship from the Austrian Research Fund on the basis of which he did research at Stanford University. In 2005 he took up a Readership...

other books by Hannes Leitgeb

Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9.21 × 6.02 × 0.01 inPublished:March 16, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198732635

ISBN - 13:9780198732631

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Table of Contents

1. IntroductionA. The Review Argument2. The Humean Thesis on BeliefB. Where Does Stability Come From?3. Logical Closure and the Lockean Thesis4. Conditional Belief and Belief DynamicsC. Does Rational Belief Reduce to Probability?5. Stability and Epistemic Decision Theory6. Action, Assertability, AcceptanceD. On Counterfactuals and Chance