For the Sake of the Argument: Ramsey Test Conditionals, Inductive Inference and Nonmonotonic Reasoning

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This book by one of the world's foremost philosophers in the fields of epistemology and logic offers an account of suppositional reasoning relevant to practical deliberation, explanation, prediction, and hypothesis testing. Suppositions made "for the sake of the argument" sometimes conflict with our beliefs, and when they do, some beliefs are rejected and others retained. Thanks to such hypothetical belief contravention, adding content to a supposition can undermine conclusions reached without it. Subversion can also arise because suppositional reasoning is ampliative. These two types of nonmonotonicity are the focus of this book. A detailed comparison of nonmonotonicity appropriate to both belief-contravening and ampliative suppositional reasoning reveals important differences that have been overlooked. In arguing that the distinction between belief contravening and inductive nonmonotonicity plays a far greater role in deliberation and decision than it is given credit for, this major study will be required reading for all philosophers and logicians concerned with conditionals, decision theory, and inductive inference. It will also interest those in artificial intelligence who work on expert systems, default reasoning, and nonmonotonic reasoning.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book is recommended reading for philosophers and logicians concerned with conditional logics and inductive inference and will interest researchers in artificial intelligence involved in nonmonotonic reasoning and belief revision." A. Florea, Computing Reviews

"The book is recommended reading for hilosophers and logicians concerned with conditional logics and inductive inference and will interest researchers in artificial intelligence involved in nonmonotonic reasoning and belief revision." A. Florea, Computing Reviews

"This is no doubt a major contribution..." Otavio Bueno, Mathematical Reviews

"This is in itself valuable. Philosophers will find in this book a conscientious and by and large successful attempt to come to terms with some of the basic work in nonmonotonic reasoning, and to render it in language that is familiar to them." Michael Morreau, Jrnl of Philosophy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521039017
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/18/2007
  • Pages: 364
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Unextended Ramsey Tests 18
3 Modality without Modal Ontology 51
4 Aspects of Conditional Logic 84
5 Nonmonotonicity in Belief Change and Suppositional Reasoning 120
6 Inductive Expansion 160
7 Defaults 200
8 Matters of Degree 234
9 Normality and Expectation 269
10 Agents and Automata 289
Notes 292
Bibliography 326
Name Index 333
Subject Index 335
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