CHANGING BELIEFS

INSTRUCTORS

Nilanjan Das and Daniel Rothschild

ABOUT

Our knowledge and beliefs are always in flux. We will focus on the question of what norms, if any, govern changes in belief and knowledge over time. Each week will focus on a specific topic from the recent literature. Readings will include work by David Christensen, Maria Lasonen-Aarnio, Gilbert Harman, and Jane Friedman.

MECHANICS

The seminar meets Thursdays from 10am to 1pm in the seminar room of the UCL Philosophy Department, 19 Gordon Square. There is no meeting on 2 June (a bank holiday). One extra session will be scheduled later.

The module will be assessed by a 4500-word essay.

Auditors and provocateurs welcome.

SCHEDULE

28 APRIL: DIACHRONIC RATIONALITY handout
Christensen Diachronic Coherence versus Epistemic Impartiality
Hedden Time-Slice Rationality

background:
Talbott Bayesian Epistemology, sections 1-4
optional:
Christensen Conservatism in Epistemology
Lewis Why Conditionalize?
Van Fraassen Belief and the Will

5 MAY: NORMS OF INQUIRY/SUSPENSION OF JUDGMENT handout
Harman Change in View, pages 1-75.
Friedman The Epistemic and Zetetic

optional:
Friedman Junk beliefs and interest-driven epistemology
Friedman Why Suspend Judging?

12 MAY: COMMUTATIVITY/HOLISM handout
Weisberg Commutativity or Holism?
Greco Cognitive Mobile Homes

optional:
Lasonen-Aarnio Unreasonable Knowledge
Srinivasan Radical Externalism
Gallow How To Learn From Theory-Dependent Evidence
Miller Holistic Conditionalization and Underminable Perceptual Learning

19 MAY: GROWING UNAWARENESS
Steele and Stefansson Belief Revision for Growing Awareness
Pettigrew How should your beliefs change when your awareness grows?

optional:
Bradley Decision Theory with a Human Face, ch. 12
Mahtani Awareness growth and dispositional attitudes
Karni and Vierø Reverse Bayesianism
Karni and Vierø Probabilistic sophistication and Reverse Bayesianism

26 MAY: SELF-LOCATING BELIEF
Elga Self‐locating belief and the Sleeping Beauty problem
Lewis Reply to Elga
Dorr Sleeping Beauty: In Defense of Elga

background:
Titelbaum Self-Locating Credences
optional:
Lewis Attitudes De Dicto and De Se
White The Generalized Sleeping Beauty Problem
Ross Sleeping Beauty, Countable Additivity, and Rational Dilemmas
Artzenius Some Problems for Conditionalization and Reflection
Moss Updating as Communication

9 JUNE: LIMITS OF BAYESIANISM
Rothschild, The Scope of Bayesianism
Carr Why Ideal Epistemology?

DATE TBD: IMPRECISE CREDENCES
Elga Subjective Probabilities Should Be Sharp
Das, Imprecision and Information Aversion

background:
Bradley Imprecise Probabilities, sections 1 and 2
optional:
Bradley and Steele, Should Subjective Probabilities Be Sharp?
Mahtani Imprecise Credences and Unstable Betting Behaviour
Salow The Value of Evidence

Resources

This course syllabus from Branden Fitelson is particularly useful: Fundamentals of Bayesian Epistemology


Image from The Met Museum.