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(2016) Readings in formal epistemology, Dordrecht, Springer.

There are various possible ways of articulating what Bayesian epistemology is and how it relates to other branches of formal and mainstream epistemology. Following the steps of Ramsey, Richard Jeffrey outlines in his article "Probable Knowledge" a possible way of constructing an epistemology grounded on Bayesian theory. While knowledge is a central notion in traditional epistemology (and in various branches of formal epistemology) Jeffrey suggests an epistemology where knowledge does not have the importance generally attributed to it. The idea is "[…] to try to make the concept of belief do the work that philosophers have generally assigned to the grander concept" (knowledge). Moreover the notion of belief is pragmatically analyzed along the lines proposed by Ramsey: "the kind of measurement of belief with which probability is concerned is …. a measurement of belief qua basis of action". The result of this move is to conceive the logic of partial belief as a branch of decision theory. So, the first two essays in this section are also quite relevant for the section of decision theory presented below (Ramsey's essay contains the first axiomatic presentation of decision theory). Both Jeffrey and Ramsey present the foundations of an epistemology which is deeply intertwined with a theory of action. This move has a behaviorist pedigree but perhaps the behavioral inspiration is not an essential ingredient of an interpretation of the formal theory that thus arises.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-20451-2_2

Full citation:

Arló-Costa, H. , Hendricks, V. F. , van Benthem, J. (2016)., Introduction, in H. Arló-Costa, V. F. Hendricks & J. Van Benthem (eds.), Readings in formal epistemology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 15-19.

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