*Wolfgang Spohn*

- Published in print:
- 2012
- Published Online:
- September 2012
- ISBN:
- 9780199697502
- eISBN:
- 9780191739323
- Item type:
- book

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697502.001.0001
- Subject:
- Philosophy, Metaphysics/Epistemology, Philosophy of Science

Ranking theory will be claimed to deliver the first full account of the dynamics of belief and to be the legitimate sister of probability theory. This entails its deep significance for fundamental ...
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Ranking theory will be claimed to deliver the first full account of the dynamics of belief and to be the legitimate sister of probability theory. This entails its deep significance for fundamental issues in epistemology and the philosophy of science. Therefore this book motivates and introduces the basic notion of a ranking function, which provides a new kind of degrees ob belief that at same time accounts for belief simpliciter. It develops ranking theory in ample detail, up to algorithms of inductive reasoning. It provides a measurement theory for ranking functions. It accounts for auto-epistemology in ranking-theoretic terms. It explicates the basic notion of a (deductive or non-deductive) reason, which is the entry to its rich philosophical applications. Among these are: a new account of lawlikeness, an account of ceteris paribus laws, a new perspective on dispositions, a rich and detailed theory of deterministic causation, an understanding of natural modalities as an objectification of epistemic modalities, an account of the experiential basis of belief, and thus a restructuring of the debate on foundationalism and coherentism (and externalism and contextualism), and finally a revival of fundamental a priori principles of reason fathoming the basics of empiricism and the relation between reason and truth and concluding in a proof of a weak principle of causality. All this is accompanied by thorough-going comparative discussions, on a general level as well as within each topic, and in particular with respect to probability theory that proves to be the major guideline of this book.Less

Ranking theory will be claimed to deliver the first full account of the dynamics of belief and to be the legitimate sister of probability theory. This entails its deep significance for fundamental issues in epistemology and the philosophy of science. Therefore this book motivates and introduces the basic notion of a ranking function, which provides a new kind of degrees ob belief that at same time accounts for belief *simpliciter*. It develops ranking theory in ample detail, up to algorithms of inductive reasoning. It provides a measurement theory for ranking functions. It accounts for auto-epistemology in ranking-theoretic terms. It explicates the basic notion of a (deductive or non-deductive) reason, which is the entry to its rich philosophical applications. Among these are: a new account of lawlikeness, an account of ceteris paribus laws, a new perspective on dispositions, a rich and detailed theory of deterministic causation, an understanding of natural modalities as an objectification of epistemic modalities, an account of the experiential basis of belief, and thus a restructuring of the debate on foundationalism and coherentism (and externalism and contextualism), and finally a revival of fundamental a priori principles of reason fathoming the basics of empiricism and the relation between reason and truth and concluding in a proof of a weak principle of causality. All this is accompanied by thorough-going comparative discussions, on a general level as well as within each topic, and in particular with respect to probability theory that proves to be the major guideline of this book.

*Wolfgang Spohn*

- Published in print:
- 2012
- Published Online:
- September 2012
- ISBN:
- 9780199697502
- eISBN:
- 9780191739323
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697502.003.0012
- Subject:
- Philosophy, Metaphysics/Epistemology, Philosophy of Science

The remaining chapters are devoted to various philosophical applications of ranking theory. The first goal is to understand natural modalities as covertly epistemological modalities by a kind of ...
More

The remaining chapters are devoted to various philosophical applications of ranking theory. The first goal is to understand natural modalities as covertly epistemological modalities by a kind of projectivistic strategy on the basis of ranking theory, which has already proved how well it accounts for epistemological modalities. The first of those natural modalities, lawlikeness, is treated in this chapter. A review of the difficulties with that notion concludes that laws are best understood via their inductive behavior. The study of that behavior arrives, after thorough argument, at the notion of a subjective (deterministic) law that is simply the ranking-theoretic analogue of the notion of a Bernoulli measure or statistical law. It turns out then that de Finetti’s philosophy of probability, incarnated in his representation theorem, can be fully carried over to the deterministic side. Thus, the confirmation of deterministic laws works in essentially the same way as that of statistical laws. The chapter concludes with some observations about the apriority of the belief in lawfulness, i.e., in the uniformity of nature.Less

The remaining chapters are devoted to various philosophical applications of ranking theory. The first goal is to understand natural modalities as covertly epistemological modalities by a kind of projectivistic strategy on the basis of ranking theory, which has already proved how well it accounts for epistemological modalities. The first of those natural modalities, lawlikeness, is treated in this chapter. A review of the difficulties with that notion concludes that laws are best understood via their inductive behavior. The study of that behavior arrives, after thorough argument, at the notion of a subjective (deterministic) law that is simply the ranking-theoretic analogue of the notion of a Bernoulli measure or statistical law. It turns out then that de Finetti’s philosophy of probability, incarnated in his representation theorem, can be fully carried over to the deterministic side. Thus, the confirmation of deterministic laws works in essentially the same way as that of statistical laws. The chapter concludes with some observations about the apriority of the belief in lawfulness, i.e., in the uniformity of nature.