The Role of Questions, Circumstances, and Algorithms in Belief

In Marco Degano, Tom Roberts, Giorgio Sbardolini & Marieke Schouwstra (eds.), Proceedings of the 23rd Amsterdam Colloquium. pp. 181-187 (2022)
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A recent approach to the problem of logical omniscience holds that belief is question-sensitive: what an agent believes depends on what question they try to answer (Pérez Carballo, 2016; Yalcin, 2018; Hoek, 2022). While the question-sensitive approach can avoid some logical omniscience problems, we argue that it suffers from nearby problems. First, these accounts all validate closure principles that are just as implausible as the ones it was designed to avoid. Second, question-sensitivity by itself isn’t suitable for explaining many kinds of failures of logical omniscience. Recognizing the flaws of this approach, however, naturally leads to a more promising solution. Our account generalizes the question-sensitive approach by appealing to (1) the defeasible nature of dispositions toward action associated with belief and (2) the algorithms an agent uses to make decisions. On our view, then, believing that φ means being disposed to employ an algorithm which outputs acting on the information that φ in normal circumstances associated with φ. We argue that this account naturally generalizes the question-sensitive accounts while avoiding their faults.



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Author Profiles

Jens Kipper
University of Rochester
Alexander W. Kocurek
Cornell University
Zeynep Soysal
University of Rochester

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Idle Questions.Jens Kipper, Alexander W. Kocurek & Zeynep Soysal - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.

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