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The Laws of BeliefRanking Theory and Its Philosophical Applications$
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Wolfgang Spohn

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199697502

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697502.001.0001

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(p.225) 11 Comparisons
The Laws of Belief

Wolfgang Spohn

Oxford University Press

There is a large spectrum of representations of belief states besides probabilities and ranks. The chapter cannot give a complete survey, but it presents comparisons with a number of important accounts. It first discusses the predecessors of ranking theory: Shackle’s functions of potential surprise, Rescher’s hypothetical reasoning, and Cohen’s account of inductive support. It saves AGM belief revision theory from various critical examples. It carefully discusses Levi’s epistemology and finds discrepancies everywhere. It is critical of Lehrer’s account of knowledge and undefeated justification. Pollock’s theory of defeasible reasoning looks similar, but is quite different. This leads to a discussion of the nature of normative epistemology. The chapter closes with brief comparative remarks on formal learning theory, possibility theory, Dempster-Shafer belief functions, and non-monotonic reasoning.

Keywords:   potential surprise, hypothetical reasoning, inductive support, levi, lehrer, agm belief revision theory, defeasible reasoning, formal learning theory, possibility theory, dempster-shafer belief functions

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