AuthorGillies, Anthony S.
AdvisorPollock, John L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractWe must change our beliefs, and change them in particular ways, in response to new information. But not all changes are created equal: some are rational changes, some not. The Problem of Epistemic Change is the problem of specifying the rational constraints on how the epistemic state of an agent ought to change in the face of new information. This dissertation is about the philosophical and logical investigation of rational belief change. I start by arguing that the familiar foundations---coherence distinction from static epistemology does not adequately carve up the logical space of theories of epistemic change. It is better to think of theories as being loosely ordered along a continuum from more to less foundational. The ordering, however, is "clumpy" in the sense that there are large regions in the ordering which remain unexplored. I then present and develop GDEC which is a new foundations model of belief revision that fills a gap in this ordering of theories of epistemic change. The key insight in GDEC is that belief that...is ambiguous between the attitudes of accept that...and expect that... GDEC respects the difference and how it matters for epistemic change. I show that GDEC is a genuine competitor to the AGM theory of belief revision in the sense that the two approaches are incompatible. The remainder of the dissertation is devoted to exploring the logical dynamics of GDEC and the models I develop here which extend it by applying them to a series of richer epistemic environments. I show how puzzles and paradoxes which confound other theories of belief revision are solved in a unified way by GDEC and its extensions. In particular, I give solutions to Moore's Paradox, Fuhrmann's Impossibility Theorem, the Reduction Problem of Epistemic Conditionals, and the Gardenfors Impossibility Theorem.
Degree ProgramGraduate College