Bayesian Epistemology

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Probability theory is increasingly important to philosophy. Bayesian probabilistic models offer us ways of getting to grips with fundamental problems about information, coherence, reliability, confirmation, and testimony, and thus show how we can justify beliefs and evaluate theories. Bovens and Hartmann provide a systematic guide to the use of probabilistic methods not just in epistemology, but also in philosophy of science, voting theory, jurisprudence, and cognitive psychology.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199269754
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/11/2004
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Luc Bovens is Professor of Philosophy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Stephan Hartmann is Reader in Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Information 9
1.1 C. I Lewis's Heritage 9
1.2 Bayesian Coherentism 10
1.3 Modelling Information Gathering 14
1.4 An Impossibility Result 19
1.5 Weak Bayesian Coherentism 22
2 Coherence 28
2.1 Unequal Priors 28
2.2 Constructing a Measure 30
2.3 A Corps in Tokyo, BonJour's Ravens and Tweety 39
2.4 Equal Reliability 45
2.5 Indeterminacy 47
2.6 Alternative Proposals 49
2.7 Theory Choice in Science 53
3 Reliability 56
3.1 Reliability Defined Endogenously 56
3.2 One Witness Report 58
3.3 Multiple Witness Reports 60
3.4 An Upper Limit for Reliability? 63
3.5 Bayesian Networks 67
3.6 Jury Voting 81
3.7 Tversky and Kahneman's Linda 85
4 Confirmation 89
4.1 Hypothesis Testing 89
4.2 Same Tests Results 94
4.3 Coherent Test Results 98
4.4 The Variety-of-Evidence Thesis 103
4.5 Auxiliary Theories 107
5 Testimony 112
5.1 The Value of Surprising Information 112
5.2 Testimonies from Independent Witnesses 113
5.3 Lower Priors, Higher Posteriors? 115
5.4 Generalizing to Many Witnesses 121
5.5 Shopping for Consumer Products 123
Epilogue 128
Appendix 131
References 154
Index 157
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