This is graduate seminar (PHILG044) focuses on when and how one should change one’s beliefs. The course will cover a variety of topics in epistemology both formal and informal. Our starting place will be the wide-ranging and enjoyable discussion of the nature of belief, change in belief, and rationality in Harman’s Change in View. We will move from there to the question of what the relationship is between so-called full or outright belief and graded or partial belief. Then, we will discuss candidate principles for changing (or not changing) both types of belief. We will go on to examine the leading formal theory of belief revision for outright belief, AGM. Later topics will depend on the instructor or students’ whims, fancies, or, in extreme cases, serious intellectual preoccupations. (We might discuss Kuhn’s view of scientific change, for example.)
The seminar meets Thursdays from 1 to 4pm in the seminar room of the UCL Philosophy Department, 19 Gordon Square. There is no meeting on 10 May and there is an extra session Monday 4, June from 2-4pm.
The module will be assessed on the basis of a shot problem set–covering a bit of AGM as well as Bayesianism–which you are encouraged to collaborate on. Basic knowledge of logic and probability might come in handy for this (and for about 1/2 to 1/3 of the topics covered in the course). The rest of the assessment will be in the form of 3000 word essay. Enrolled graduate students will give short presentations throughout the term.
Auditors and provocateurs welcome.
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3 May (Thurs) CREDENCE AND BELIEF
Foley, Beliefs, Degrees of Belief, and the Lockean Thesis
Christensen, Two Models of Belief from Putting Logic in its Place
Sturgeon, Reason and the Grain of Belief
Buchak, Belief, Credence, and Norms
Hawthorne, Rothschild, Spectre, Belief is weak
Rothschild What it takes to believe
17 May (Thurs) REFLECTION
Fraassen, Belief and the Problem of Ulysses and the Sirens
Elga, Self‐locating belief and the Sleeping Beauty problem
Artzenius Some Problems for Conditionalization and Reflection
Briggs, Distorted Reflection
24 May (Thurs) DIACHRONIC RATIONALITY
Christensen, Diachronic Coherence versus Epistemic Impartiality
Hedden, Time-Slice Rationality
Carr, Don’t stop believing
31 May (Thurs) AGM
Gardenfors, Belief Revision: an Introduction
Hansson, The Logic of Belief Revision
Lewis, A Problem about Permission
Shear and Fitelson, Two Approaches to Belief Revision
4 June (Monday) TECHNICAL/PROBLEM SET SECTION
Problem set corrected 7/6/2018
Image © University of Edinburgh.