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The Stability of BeliefHow Rational Belief Coheres with Probability$
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Hannes Leitgeb

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732631

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732631.001.0001

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Stability and Epistemic Decision Theory

Stability and Epistemic Decision Theory

(p.237) 5 Stability and Epistemic Decision Theory
The Stability of Belief

Hannes Leitgeb

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents two reformulations of the theory in this book that derive from the ‘aiming at the truth’ aspect of belief. The chapter demonstrates that the stability conception of belief makes rational belief not just aim at the truth but even ‘get sufficiently close to the truth’. And the other way around: the stability conception of belief can be recovered from belief ‘getting sufficiently close to the truth’ if taken together with some additional assumptions. In the first part of the chapter, rational all-or-nothing belief is determined to ‘get sufficiently close to the truth’ in a sense that is made precise by a rational agent’s belief set having positive expected epistemic utility, along the lines of epistemic decision theory. The second part characterizes belief with respect to a different ‘aiming property’: an agent’s belief set aiming at the same agent’s degree-of-belief function. Given that function itself aims at the truth, belief also aims at the truth, but indirectly so. That second part continues Chapter 4 in so far as belief is assumed to be conditional or corresponding to a doxastic ranking of worlds and propositions.

Keywords:   belief, aiming at truth, epistemic utility, epistemic decision theory, conditional belief, doxastic ranking

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