Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Degrees of Belief (The Nature of Degrees of Belief)
Okres sprawozdawczy: 2017-02-01 do 2019-01-31
Talk of degrees of belief allows us to describe in a more nuanced way how humans represent the world, allowing us to distinguish between the relative likelihoods that individuals attach to the different claims that they consider. Doing so is central for our best accounts of decision making, which form the basis of a very significant amount of contemporary philosophical, psychological, and economic theory.
However, very little has been said about what degrees of belief are, exactly, nor how quantitative and qualitative degrees of belief relate to one another. Furthermore, to the extent that work has been done on this matter, the focus has been on the degrees of belief of unrealistically rational beings, quite unlike any ordinary human. This is unfortunate: without an adequate account of what degrees of belief are for ordinary agents, it is hard to settle many of the philosophical issues that decision theorists today engage upon.
The project’s overall aim is to use newly developed formal results to construct a novel approach to understanding the degrees of belief of ordinary, non-ideal human beings. More specifically, the project aims to bring together two historically distinct strands of thinking on the nature of degrees of belief: those who seek to make central use of so-called ‘representation theorems’ in their account, and those who hold that degrees of belief are psychologically real.
In all three of the above, progress has been made towards the much broader research goal—shared by philosophers, psychologists and economists alike—of developing a more adequate formal model of ordinary human agents’ degrees of belief and their relationship to decision making.