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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.442) 15 Objectification
The Laws of Belief

Wolfgang Spohn

Oxford University Press

The above account of natural modalities is forbiddingly subjectivistic; these modalities are explained only relative to a doxastic state, a ranking function. This chapter explores the extent to which this relativization can be undone; it thus carries a heavy philosophical weight. The issue is addressed in a fully general way. First it is defined what it means to call a feature of a ranking function objectifiable, i.e., what it means to uniquely reconstruct a ranking function and the way in which it realizes that feature from an objectively true or false proposition associated with that realization (so that the function can also be called true or false). Then it is proved that belief is objectifiable and that reasons are not. The main part provides two objectification methods for causation, one that works only for sufficient causes and another that even works for causal overdetermination. Subjective laws are objectifiable if and only if their assumptions about the single case are so. These are substantial results that, as is finally explained, complete the projectivistic strategy pursued in this book.

Keywords:   objectivity, projectivism, belief, relativization

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