88. "Epistemic Justification: Its Subjective and Its Objective Ways", Synthese (2017), DOI: 10.1007/s11229-017-1393-0 [pdf-version]

Abstract

Objective standards for justification or for being a reason would be desirable, but inductive skepticism tells us that they cannot be presupposed. Rather, we have to start from subjective-relative notions of justification and of being a reason. The paper lays out the strategic options we have given this dilemma. The paper explains the requirements for this subject-relative notion and how they may be satisfied. Then it discusses four quite heterogeneous ways of providing more objective standards, which combine without guaranteeing complete success. 

87. "The Epistemology and Auto-Epistemology of Temporal Self-Location and Forgetfulness", Ergo 4 (2017), 359-418. [pdf-version]

Abstract

This paper deals with the epistemology and auto-epistemology of temporal self-location and forgetfulness in probabilistic terms. After explicitly stating the underlying algebraic or propositional framework, it proposes two rules of probability change through our inner sense of time and generally describes how conditionalization works with respect to indexical information. It suggests a rule for rearranging beliefs after forgetting (and other unfavorable epistemic changes). After rehearsing standard auto-epistemology in terms of the reflection principle and its consequences, it moreover studies the auto-epistemology of those non-standard epistemological changes. Thus, it generalizes the reflection principle to the indexical case and to an even more general version that is free from the informal restrictions that are commonly assumed. All these principles are illustrated with various examples: the prisoner, the new riddle of induction, Sleeping Beauty, and finally Shangri-La. 

86. "How the Modalities Come into the World" , Erkenntnis 82 (2017), DOI 10.1007/s10670-016-9874-y [pdf-version]

Abstract

This paper is an elaboration of my Frege Lecture, within the Frege colloquium at GAP.9 for the award of the Frege Prize of the Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie on Sept. 16, 2015. It argues that the modalities come into the world by being projections or objectivizations of our epistemic constitution. Thus it is a statement of Humean projectivism. In fact, it goes beyond Simon Blackburn’s version. It is also designed as a comprehensive counter-program to David Lewis’ program of Humean supervenience. In detail, the paper explains: (1) Already the basic fact that the world is a world of states of affairs is due to the nature of our epistemic states. (2) Objects (and properties and relations), which figure in states of affairs and which embody metaphysical modality, are constitutable by their essential properties and in fact constituted by us according to our ontological policies. (3) What the facts are, to which the correspondence notion of truth refers, is determined by applying an epistemic or pragmatic notion of truth to the world. (4) Causation is a specific objectivization of our conditional beliefs. (5) Nomicity is a ‘habit of belief’ (Ramsey), a specific way of generalizing epistemic attitudes. This covers the basic metaphysical and natural modalities. The paper attempts to convey that talking of projection or objectivization is not just imagery, but a constructively realizable program. The paper essentially refers to various other papers of mine, most notably No. 85, 82, 77, 61, 60, 56, and 27, and chs. 12, 14 and 15 of my book The Laws of Belief.

85. "Truth and Rationality", Tomsk State University Journal of Philosophy, Sociology, and Political Science 36 (2016), 7-19. [pdf-version]

Abstract

This paper is an elaboration of my Lakatos lecture on May 9, 2013, at the ceremony for the Lakatos Award 2012. It is about the pragmatic notion of truth, according to which what we believe in the ideal limit of inquiry is true. Hence, it refers to the dynamics of belief and thus to theoretical rationality. Thereby, truth and rationality are inexorably intertwined; neither can be explained without the other, and each contributes to substantiating the other.

84. “Enumerative Induction”, in: C. Beyer, G. Brewka, M. Timm (eds.), Foundations of Formal Rationality: Essays Dedicated to Gabriele Kern-Isberner on the Occasion of Her 60th Birthday, London: College Publications, 2016, pp.96-114.

Abstract

“Enumerative Induction”: This is a philosophical paper about enumerative induction, a basic rule of inductive or defeasible reasoning. It shows that it is almost satisfactorily accounted for in probability theory, which, however, is plagued by the problem of null confirmation of laws. It is even more adequately in ranking theory, which can explain that it specifically applies to laws, as opposed to accidental generalizations. This has consequences for Goodman's new riddle of induction as well as the often claimed apriority of the uniformity of nature. The paper certainly deals with the foundations of formal rationality and should be of interest not only to philosophers, but also to the Artificial Intelligence community, which is deeply engaged in inductive reasoning as well. So, it is a suitable contribution in this Festschrift.

83. “Wie Wünsche zweiter Stufe praktisch relevant werden”, to appear in: N. Roughley, J. Schälike (eds.), Wollen: Seine Bedeutung, seine Grenzen, Münster: Mentis, pp.123-144.

Abstract

„Wie Wünsche zweiter Stufe praktisch relevant werden“: Harry Frankfurt has forcefully argued how closely freedom of will is connected with second order desires and volitions. However, neither he himself nor the subsequent literature has accounted for the rational role of second order desires, of their logic, as it were. They remain an intuitive phenomenon without theory. The paper elaborates in an informal way how these second order desires could adopt an important constructive role in rational decision theory, a role which standard decision theory fails to define as well.

82. “Three Kinds of Worlds and Two Kinds of Truth”, Philosophical Studies [link]

Abstract

„Three Kinds of Worlds and Two Kinds of Truth“: This paper argues for three kinds of possible worlds: Wittgensteinian totalities of facts, Lewisian worlds or universes, concrete objects of maximal essence, and the world, a concrete object of minimal essence. It moreover explains that correspondence truth applies to Wittgensteinian totalities and pragmatic truth to Lewisian universes. And it finally argues that this conceptualization lays proper foundations to two-dimensional semantics. This includes a critical discussion of David Chalmers' conception of two-dimensional semantics.

81. “The Epistemic Account of Ceteris Paribus Conditions”, European Journal for the Philosophy of Science 4 (2014), 385-408. [pdf-version]

Abstract

„The Epistemic Account of Ceteris Paribus Conditions“: The paper focuses on interpreting ceteris paribus conditions as normal conditions. After discussing six basic problems for the explication of normal conditions and seven interpretations that do not well solve those problems I turn to what I call the epistemic account. According to it the normal is, roughly, the not unexpected. This is developed into a rigorous constructive account of normal conditions, which makes essential use of ranking theory and in particular allows to explain the phenomenon of multiply exceptional conditions. Finally, this static account is extended to a schematic dynamic model of how we may learn about those normal and (multiply) exceptional conditions.

80. “Conditionals: A Unifying Ranking-Theoretic Perspective”, Philosophers' Imprint 15 (2015), No. 1, pp. 1-30. [pdf-version]

Abstract

“Conditionals: A Unified Ranking-Theoretic Perspective”: The paper takes an expressivistic perspective, i.e., it takes conditionals of all sorts to primarily express (features of) conditional beliefs. Therefore it is based on what it takes to be the best account of conditional belief, namely ranking theory. It proposes not to start looking at the bewildering linguistic phenomenology, but first to systematically study the various options of expressing features of conditional belief. Those options by far transcend the Ramsey test and include relevancies of various kinds and in particular the so-called “circumstances are such that” reading, under which also all conditionals representing causal relations can be subsumed. In this way a unifying perspective on the many kinds of conditionals is offered. The final section explains the considerable extent to which truth conditions for conditionals, which may seem lost in the expressivistic or epistemic perspective, may be recovered.

79. “Précis von The Laws of Belief”, Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung, 68 (2014) 82-89.

78. „50 Jahre Gettier: Reichen Vielleicht“, to appear in: G. Ernst, L. Marani (eds.), Das Gettierproblem. Eine Bilanz nach 50 Jahren, Münster: Mentis 2013, pp. 179-197. [pdf-version]

Abstract

„50 Jahre Gettier: Reichen Vielleicht”: A critical concern of this paper is to emphasize how little the unclarities of the three basic concepts truth, belief, and justification of Plato’s analysis of knowledge are mastered up to the present day. This applies as well to the unclarities of the so-called modal analyses of knowledge with respect to their reference to (counterfactual) conditionals and to normal conditions. A constructive concern is to at least suggest how helpful ranking theory could be in coming to terms with those unclarities. This finally leads to a possible answer to the issue what the surplus value of knowledge over mere true beliefs may be.

77. „How Essentialism Properly Understood Might Reconcile Realism and Social Constructivism”, in: M. C. Galavotti et al. (eds.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Science, Cham: Springer, 2014, pp. 255-265.  [pdf-version]

Abstract

„How Essentialism Properly Understood Might Reconcile Realism and Social Constructivism”: The paper attempts to reconcile realism and constructivism (i) by endorsing an essentialist conception of the individuation of objects, (ii) by pointing to the conventional character of the essential/accidental distinction, (iii) by noticing that conventions may still leave room for the empirical investigation of essential properties, and (iv) by observing that despite this conventionality realism need not be derogated in any way. The final section points to some consequences for social ontology.

76. “A Priori Principles of Reason“, in: P. Schroeder-Heister, G. Heinzmann, W. Hodges, P.E. Bour (eds.), Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Proceedings of the 14thInternational Congress. Logic and Science Facing the New Technologies, College Publications, London 2014, pp. 235-251. [pdf-version]

Abstract

“A Priori Principles of Reason“: This paper presents various a priori principles of reason: a basic empiricist principle, as it is called here, some coherence principles, principles about the connection between truth and reason, etc. They are familiar, indeed venerable. What the paper will add are precise explications of those principles and rigorous relations between them. Just in order to make you curious, in the end a weak principle of causality will be derived from a principle characteristic of pragmatic truth. This connection sounds surprising, and in view of the recent persistent silence on the principle of causality this result is certainly alerting.

75. “AGM, Ranking Theory, and the Many Ways to Cope with Examples”, in: S. O. Hansson (ed.), David Makinson on Classical Methods for Non-Classical Problems, Outstanding Contributions to Logic, vol. 3, Springer, Dordrecht, 2014, S. 95-118. [pdf-version]

Abstract

“AGM, Ranking Theory, and the Many Ways to Cope with Examples”: The paper first explains how the ranking-theoretic belief change or conditionalization rules entail all of the standard AGM belief revision and contraction axioms. Those axioms have met a lot of objections and counter-examples, which thus extend to ranking theory as well. The paper argues for a paradigmatic set of cases that the counter-examples can be well accounted for with various pragmatic strategies while maintaining the axioms. So, one point of the paper is to save AGM belief revision theory as well as ranking theory. The other point, however, is to display how complex the pragmatic interaction of belief change and utterance meaning may be; it should be systematically and not only paradigmatically explored.

74. “A Ranking-Theoretic Approach to Conditionals”, Cognitive Science 37 (2013) 1074-1106.[pdf-version]

Abstract

"A Ranking-Theoretic Approach to Conditionals": Conditionals somehow express conditional beliefs. However, conditional belief is a bi-propositional attitude that is generally not truth-evaluable, in contrast to unconditional belief. Therefore, the paper opts for an expressivistic semantics for conditionals, grounds this semantics in the arguably most adequate account of conditional belief, i.e., ranking theory, and dismisses probability theory for that purpose, because probabilities cannot represent belief. Then, various expressive options are explained in terms of ranking theory, with the intention to set out a general interpretive scheme that is able to account for the most variegated usage of conditionals. The Ramsey test is only the first option. Relevance is another, familiar, but little understood item, which comes in several versions. The paper adds a further family of expressive options, which is able to subsume also counterfactuals and causal conditionals, and indicates at the end how this family allows to partially recover truth conditions for conditionals.

73. "Normativity is the Key to the Difference Between the Human and the Natural Sciences", in: D. Dieks et al. (eds.), Explanation, Prediction, and Confirmation, Springer, Dordrecht, 2011, pp. 241-251. [pdf-version]

72. "The Structural Model and the Ranking Theoretic Approach to Causation: A Comparison", in: R. Dechter, H. Geffner, J. Y. Halpern (eds.), Heuristics, Probability and Causality. A Tribute to Judea Pearl, San Mateo, CA: Kauffmann, 2010, pp. 493-508 [pdf-version]

Abstract

The Structural Model Approach to causation has become very prominent in the last 10 years. It attempts to improve on other accounts of deterministic causation and appears promising because of its proximity to scientific practice. This paper gives an essentially descriptive comparison between it and the ranking-theoretic account which I endorse for more than two decades. Because they look similar, they are easily compared. Nevertheless I find no less than 15 minor and major points in which the two accounts diverge. This long list intends to remind of the many open issues in the theory of causation, and it might suggest that the weight of argument ultimately favors the ranking-theoretic approach.

71. “Multiple Contraction Revisited”, in M. Suarez et al. (eds), Proeedings of the First Congress of the European Philosophy of Science Association, Springer, Dordrecht, 2010, pp. 279-288. [pdf-version]

Abstract

71. “Multiple Contraction Revisited”: Multiple contraction consists in giving up several beliefs at once. The treatments of multiple contraction in AGM belief revision theory have remained unsatisfactory. The paper proposes a clear, plausible, and general model for multiple contraction in ranking-theoretic terms according to which multiple contraction turns out to reduce to single contractions. The belief set multiply contracted by {A1, …,An} is just the intersection of all the belief sets singly contracted by Ai (i = 1, …, n).

70. “Reversing 30 Years of Discussion: Why Causal Decision Theorists Should One-Box”, in: Synthese, 187 (2012) 95-122. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Reversing 30 Years of Discussion: Why Causal Decision Theorists Should One-Box": This paper aims at rationalizing drinking the toxin in the Toxin puzzle and one-boxing in Newcomb’s problem within the realms of causal decision theory. These actions standardly maximize conditional expected utlity, since the conditional probabilities of the outcomes probabilistically depend on the actions. Traditional causal decision theory interprets this dependence as a causal one and takes this as a correct reason for rejecting it. Within the partially elaborated so-called reflexive decision theory, however, this dependence is causally interpreted as induced by a common cause relation; upon reflection, the decision situation itself turns out to be a common cause of the rational action as well as the outcome. And, so the paper argues, rational decisions have to take this kind of common cause relation into account in terms of conditional expected utility.

69. "From Nash to Dependency Equilibria", in: G. Bonnano, B. Loewe, W. van der Hoek (eds.), Logic and the Foundations of Game and Decision Theory - LOFT 2008, Texts in Logic and Games, Springer, Dordrecht, 2010, pp. 135-150. [pdf-version]

68. “Two-Dimensional Truth”, in: Studia Philosophica Estonica 1.2 (2008) 200-213. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Two-Dimensional Truth": The paper identifies two major strands of truth theories, ontological and epistemological ones and argues that both are of equal primacy and find their home within two-dimensional semantics. Contrary to received views, it argues further that epistemological truth theories operate on Lewisian possible worlds and ontological truth theories on Wittgensteinian possible worlds and that both are mediated by the so-called epistemic-ontic map the further specification of which is of utmost philosophical importance.

67. „Why the Received Models of Considering Preference Change Must Fail”, in: T. Grüne-Yanoff, S.O. Hansson (eds.), Preference Change: Approaches from Philosophy, Economics and Psychology, Dordrecht: Springer, 2009, pp. 109-121. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Why the Received Models of Considering Preference Change Must Fail": First, the paper discusses the extent to which preference change is a topic of normative rationality; it confirms as one main issue the economists’ search for a rational decision rule in cases in which the agent himself envisages to have changing preferences. Then it introduces so-called global decision models and shows that all the received economic models for dealing with preference change have that shape. The final section states two examples for global decision models, one with extrinsic, belief-induced and one with intrinsic preference change, and interprets each of them in two different scenarios in which different strategies are intuitively reasonable – the point being that global decision models cannot provide sufficient information for stating adequate decision rules. What the missing information might be is at least indicated at the end.

66. “A Priori Reasons: Two Difficult Notions and an Even More Difficult Connection”, in: N. Kompa, C. Nimtz, C. Suhm (eds.), The A Priori and its Place in Philosophy, Paderborn: Mentis, 2009, pp. 25-38. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"A Priori Reasons: Two Difficult Notions and an Even More Difficult Connection": Contrary to received views, I propose in this paper to understand both apriority and justification (or rather having and giving reasons), from the dynamic perspective of belief change. This will provide us with the basic explication of the notion of a reason and with the basic distinction of unrevisable and defeasible apriority. And it will lead us to new and instructive connections between reasons and apriority.

65. “Epistemology: 5 Questions”, in: V.F. Hendricks, D. Pritchard (Hg.), Epistemlogy: 5 Questions, Automatic Press 2008, pp. 311-322. [pdf-version]

64. “Dependency Equilibria”, in: Philosophy of Science 74 (2007) 775-789. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Dependency Equilibria": This paper introduces a new equilibrium concept for normal form games called dependency equilibrium; it is defined, exemplified, and compared with Nash and correlated equilibria in Sections 2–4. Its philosophical motive is to rationalize cooperation in the one shot prisoners’ dilemma. A brief discussion of its meaningfulness in Section 5 concludes the paper.

63. “The Measurement of Ranks and the Laws of Iterated Contraction”, in: Artificial Intelligence 172 (2008) 1195-1218. (with Matthias Hild) [pdf-version]

Abstract

Ranking theory delivers an account of iterated contraction; each ranking function induces a specific iterated contraction behavior. The paper shows how to reconstruct a ranking function from its iterated contraction behavior uniquely up to multiplicative constant and thus how to measure ranks on a ratio scale. Thereby, it also shows how to completely axiomatize that behavior. The complete set of laws of iterated contraction it specifies amend the laws hitherto discussed in the literature.

62. “Changing Concepts", in: W. Spohn, Causation, Coherence, and Concepts. A Collection of Essays, Springer, Dordrecht, 2008, Kap. 15, S. 329-334. [pdf-version]

61. "The Intentional versus the Propositional Structure of Contents",in: W. Spohn, Causation, Coherence, and Concepts. A Collection of Essays, Springer Dordrecht 2008, ch. 16. [pdf-version]

Abstract

The paper argues that the objects of belief should not be conceived as sets of possible worlds or propositions of set of centered possible worlds or egocentric propositions (this is the propositional conception), but rather as sets of pairs consisting of a centered world and a sequence of objects (this is the intentional conception of the objects of belief). The paper explains the deep significance of this thesis for the framework of two-dimensional semantics, indeed for any framework trying to adequately relate semantics and epistemology (which is here construed as what I call the Congruence Principle). I give three arguments for this thesis, two preliminary indecisive ones by way of examples, and third theoretical one alluding to a deep principle of philosophical psychology (which I call the Invariance Prinicple). This paper is an improved and up-dated version of my paper No. 25. It will appear in Causation, Cohrence, and Concepts. A Collection of Essays of mine.

60. “How are Mathematical Objects Constituted? A Structuralist Answer", Proceedings des 6. Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie, Mentis, Paderborn 2007 (CD-Veröffentlichung), S. 106-119. [pdf-version]

Abstract

The paper proposes to amend structuralism in mathematics by saying what places in a structure and thus mathematical objects are. They are the objects of the canonical system realizing a categorical structure, where that canonical system is a minimal system in a specific essentialistic sense. It would thus be a basic ontological axiom that such a canonical system always exists. This way of conceiving mathematical objects is underscored by a defense of an essentialistic version of Leibniz’ principle according to which each object is uniquely characterized by its proper and possibly relational essence (where “proper” means “not referring to identity”).

59. "Five Questions on Formal Philosophy", in: V.F. Hendricks, J. Symons (eds.), Formal Philosophy. Aim, Scope, Direction, Automatic Press, 2005, pp. 169-192. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Five Questions on Formal Philosophy": Like the other authors in the volume, I was asked for my reflections on the character of (formal) philosophy by answering the following five questions: 1. Why were you initially drawn to formal methods? 2. What example(s) from your work illustrates the role formal methods can play in philosophy? 3. What is the proper role of philosophy in relation to other disciplines? 4. What do you consider the most neglected topics and/or contributions in late 20th century philosophy? 5. What are the most important problems in philosophy and which are the prospects for progress?

58. "The Core of Free Will", in: P.K. Machamer, G. Wolters (eds.), Causation: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press, pp. 297-309 [pdf-version] [pdf-ger-version]

Abstract

"The Core of Free Will": The paper pleads for compatibilism by distinguishing the first-person’s normative and the observer’s empirical perspective. In the normative perspective one’s own actions are uncaused and free, in the empirical perspective they are caused and may be predetermined. Still, there is only one notion of causation that is able to account for the relation between the causal conceptions within the two perspectives. The other main idea for explicating free will by explaining free actions or intentions as appropriately caused in a specified way is acknowledged, but not discussed. The paper finally argues that the normative and the empirical perspective are on a par; none is prior; even from within the empirical perspective the normative perspective is ineliminable.

57. "A Survey of Ranking Theory", to appear in: F. Huber, C. Schmidt-Petri (eds.), Degrees of Belief. An Anthology, Springer, Dordrecht 2009, pp. 185-228 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"A Survey of Ranking Theory": The paper gives an up-to-date survey of ranking theory. It carefully explains the basics. It elaborates on the ranking theoretic explication of reasons and their balance. It explains the dynamics of belief statable in ranking terms and indicates how the ranks can thereby be measured. It suggests how the theory of Bayesian nets can be carried over to ranking theory. It indicates what it might mean to objectify ranks. It discusses the formal and the philosophical aspects of the tight relation and the complementarity of ranks and probabilities. It closes with comparative remarks on predecessors and other philosophical proposals as well as formal models developed in AI.

56. “Chance and Necessity: From Humean Supervenience to Humean Projection", in: E. Eells, J. Fetzer (eds.), The Place of Probability in Science, Springer, Dordrecht 2010, pp. 101-131. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Chance and Necessity: From Humean Supervenience to Humean Projection": This paper attempts to develop a projectivistic understanding of chance or objective probability or partial determination. It does so by critically examining David Lewis’ philosophy of probability and his defense of Humean Supervenience, building thereupon the constructive projectivistic alternative, which will basically be a suitable reinterpretation of de Finetti’s position. Any treatment of the topic must show how it extends to natural necessity or deterministic laws or full determination in perfect parallel. The paper indicates at the end how this demand can be met.

55. "Anmerkungen zum Begriff des Bewusstseins", in: G. Wolters, M. Carrier (eds.), Homo Sapiens und Homo Faber. Festschrift für Jürgen Mittelstraß, de Gruyter, Berlin 2005, pp. 239-251; auch in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 119, 2004, 15 S. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Anmerkungen zum Begriff des Bewusstseins": The paper explains and defends its core thesis that p is a possible content of consciousness of a at time t if and only if it is metaphysically necessary that p iff a believes at t that p. It argues that this thesis adequately captures phenomenal consciousness as well as intentional consciousness (of our propositional attitudes) and perhaps self-consciousness. It argues that the thesis is a traditional one, in a way. And it finally points to some remarkable epistemological consequences of its thesis.

54. "Isaac Levi's Potentially Surprising Epistemological Picture", in: E. Olsson (eds.), Knowledge and Inquiry: Essays on the Pragmatism of Isaac Levi, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2006, pp. 125-142. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Isaac Levi's Potentially Surprising Epistemological Picture": This paper compares the epistemological conception of Isaac Levi with mine. We are joined in both giving a constructive answer to the relation of belief and probability, without reducing one to the other. However, our constructions differ in at least nine more or less important ways, all discussed in the paper. In particular, the paper explains the similarities and differences of Shackle's functions of potential surprise, as used by Levi, and my ranking functions in formal as well as in philosophical respects. The appendix explains how ranking and probability theory can be combined in the notion of a ranked probability measure (or probabilified ranking function).

53. "Ist Philosophie eine Wissenschaft?", in: C. Nimtz, A. Beckermann (eds.), Philosophie und/als Wissenschaft. Hauptvorträge und Kolloquiumsbeiträge zu GAP.5, Fünfter Internationaler Kongress der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie, Bielefeld, 22.− 26. September 2003; Mentis, Paderborn 2005, pp. 81-96; auch in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 118, 2004, 18 S. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Ist Philosophie eine Wissenschaft?": I give a positive answer to the title question - by defending six claims: (1) Philosophy must in any case maintain the claim to be a scientific discipline. (2) There are many close relations between philosophy and specific disciplines showing that they are at least similar in kind; all are part of our best ways of theorizing about the world. (3) There is a lot of 'normal science' in philosophy, not less useful than other normal science. (4) This has the effect of raising the scholarly standards in philosophy. (5) There is still progress and improvement in philosophy, even concerning the 'big questions', but only with the help of 'scientific' methods. (6) There is a peculiar dialectics between the philosophy of big questions and the philosophy as normal science; both depend on one another.

52. "Enumerative Induction and Lawlikeness", in: Philosophy of Science 72 (2005) 164-187; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 117, 2004, 24 S. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Enumerative Induction and Lawlikeness": The paper is based on ranking theory, a theory of degrees of disbelief (and hence belief). On this basis, it explains enumerative induction, the confirmation of a law by its positive instances, which may indeed take various schemes. It gives a ranking theoretic explication of a possible law or a nomological hypothesis. It proves, then, that such schemes of enumerative induction uniquely correspond to mixtures of such nomological hypotheses. Thus, it shows that de Finetti's probabilistic representation theorems may be transformed into an account of confirmation of possible laws and that enumerative induction is equivalent to such an account. The paper concludes with some remarks about the apriority of lawfulness or the uniformity of nature.

51. "Causation: An Alternative", in: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2006) 93-119; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 116, 2004, 28 S. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Causation: An Alternative": The paper builds on the basically Humean general idea that A is a cause of B iff A and B both occur, A precedes B, and A raises the metaphysical or epistemic status of B given the obtaining circumstances. It argues that in pursuit of a theory of deterministic causation this 'status raising' is best explicated not in regularity or counterfactual terms, but in terms of ranking functions. On this basis, it constructs a rigorous theory of deterministic causation that successfully deals with cases of overdetermination and preemption. It finally indicates how the account's profound epistemic relativization induced by ranking theory can be undone.

50. "On the Objectivity of Facts, Beliefs, and Values", in: P. Machamer, G. Wolters (eds.), Science, Values, and Objectivity, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh 2004, pp. 172-189; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 115, 2004, 18 S. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"On the Objectivity of Facts, Beliefs, and Values": This paper arose from a comment to the talk of Tara Smith at the Pittsburgh-Konstanz Colloquium in October 2002. Now it is a self-contained text precisely about what the title indicates. It is a somewhat mixed bag, but a nice read.

49. "Laws Are Persistent Inductives Schemes", in: F. Stadler (ed.), Induction and Deduction in the Sciences, Kluwer, Dordrecht 2004, pp. 135-150. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Laws Are Persistent Inductives Schemes": The characteristic difference between laws and accidental generalizations lies in our epistemic or inductive attitude towards them. This idea has taken various forms and dominated the discussion about lawlikeness in the last decades. Hence, ranking theory with its resources of formalizing defeasible reasoning or inductive schemes seems ideally suited to explicate the idea in a formal way. This is what the paper attempts to do. Thus it will turn out that a law is simply the deterministic analogue of a sequence of independent, identically distributed random variables. This entails that de Finetti's representation theorems can be directly transformed into an account of confirmation of laws thus conceived. Theorem and proof are, however, fully and precisely stated only in paper No. 52.

48. "Burge macht uns weis: ein Zirkel bei Grice", in: U. Haas-Spohn (ed.), Intentionalität zwischen Subjektivität und Weltbezug, Mentis, Paderborn 2003, pp. 137-143; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 85 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Burge macht uns weis: ein Zirkel bei Grice": This paper is a brief comment on Mark Siebel's contribution to the present volume. In his famous paper "Individualism and the Mental" Tyler Burge suggests that the equally famous Gricean account of linguistic meaning is circular and cannot offer a reduction of semantics to psychology. Siebel argues that this suggestion is mistaken. I try to make clear that there is a point in Burge's suggestion: namely that the Gricean account can hold out its reductionistic promise only if it additionally provides an account of narrow as opposed to wide content.

47. "Laws, Ceteris Paribus Conditions, and the Dynamics of Belief", Erkenntnis 57 (2002) 373-394; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie, No. 84 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Laws, Ceteris Paribus Conditions, and the Dynamics of Belief": The paper develops an account of lawlikeness on the basis of ranking theory (cf. No. 15 and, e.g., No. 39). A universal generalization is a law not because of its content, but only insofar a certain inductive attitude is taken towards its instantiations, an attitude which I describe as being persistent as opposed to being shaky. Thereby, a conception of lawlikeness widely found in the literature receives a precise explication (for the first time, as far as I know). In effect, a law thus turns out to be the ranking analogue of a sequence of independent and identically distributed stochastic variables. This entails that de Finetti's account of the confirmation of statistical hypotheses can be immediately carried over to the case of deterministic laws. The paper also explains that laws explicated in ranking terms are perfectly suited for accommodating ceteris paribus conditions in various senses. The final section offers brief comparative remarks about the other papers in this Erkenntnis issue.

46. "Carnap versus Quine, or Aprioristic versus Naturalized Epistemology, or a Lesson from Dispositions", in: T. Bonk (ed.), Language, Truth and Knowledge. Contributions to the Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap, Kluwer, Dordrecht 2003, pp. 167-177; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie, No. 83 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Carnap versus Quine, or Aprioristic versus Naturalized Epistemology, or a Lesson from Dispositions": In his influential paper "Epistemology Naturalized" Quine argues that Carnap's failure to define disposition predicates and his subsequent preference for reduction sentences naturally lead to an entirely naturalized epistemology. This conclusion is too hasty, I object. Applying the account of dispositional predicates developed in No. 26 I defend Carnap's aprioristic epistemology against Quine's attacks.

45. "Die vielen Facetten der Rationalitätstheorie", Information Philosophie Nr. 3/2000, S. 22-34; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie, No. 82, 2002, 20 S., English translation: "The Many Facets of the Theory of Rationality", Croatian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2002) 247-262. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Die vielen Facetten der Rationalitätstheorie": The paper is essentially an updated and abbreviated version of No. 21. It specifies the general scheme of what is assessed as rational relative to what. It gives a very brief overview over the various fields of rationality theory ensuing from this scheme. It explains how rationality theory can be both, a normative and an empirical theory, and why the normative perspective is ineliminable (a fact which entails that psychology cannot be entirely naturalized).

44. "Lehrer Meets Ranking Theory", in: E: Olsson (ed.), The Epistemology of Keith Lehrer, Kluwer, Dordrecht 2002, pp. 119-132; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie, No. 55 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Lehrer Meets Ranking Theory": Keith Lehrer's sophisticated epistemology is essentially based on a four-place relation: A is more reasonable to accept given C than B given D. The only formal account of this relation compatible with Lehrer's requirements is provided by ranking theory as developed by me in No. 15 (but see also No. 39). However given this account, justified acceptance as defined by Lehrer reduces to acceptance and knowledge as defined by Lehrer reduces to true acceptance. Thus, Lehrer's theory is trivialized. The final section discusses possible consequences to be drawn from these results.

43. "A Brief Comparison of Pollock's Defeasible Reasoning and Ranking Functions", Synthese 131 (2002) 39-56, also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie, No. 54 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"A Brief Comparison of Pollock's Defeasible Reasoning and Ranking Functions": For more than 20 years John Pollock is elaborating a detailed account of defeasible reasoning. Ranking theory as developed by me in No. 15 (but see also No. 39) offers such an account, too. The paper first gives a very brief informal sketch of the two accounts. It then explains that the basic difference is that Pollock's theory is entirely computational, whereas mine is located at a regulative level. It continues to argue that Pollock's theory cannot bridge this difference and that its normative condition is therefore deficient. The final section shows, by contrast, that ranking theory provides ample means to bridge the difference.

42. "Dependency Equilibria and the Causal Structure of Decision and Game Situation", Homo Oeconomicus XX (2003) 195-255, also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie, No. 56 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Dependency Equilibria and the Causal Structure of Decision and Game Situations": The paper attempts to rationalize cooperation in the one-shot prisoners' dilemma (PD). It starts by introducing (and preliminarily investigating) a new kind of equilibrium (differing from Aumann's correlated equilibria) according to which the players' actions may be correlated (sect. 2). In PD the Pareto-optimal among these equilibria is joint cooperation. Since these equilibria seem to contradict causal preconceptions, the paper continues with a standard analysis of the causal structure of decision situations (sect. 3). The analysis then raises to a reflexive point of view according to which the agent integrates his own present and future decision situations into the causal picture of his situation (sect. 4). This reflexive structure is first applied to the toxin puzzle and then to Newcomb's problem, showing a way to rationalize drinking the toxin and taking only one box with-out assuming causal mystery (sect. 5). The latter result is finally extended to a rationalization of cooperation in PD (sect. 6).

41. "Bayesian Nets Are All There Is To Causal Dependence", in: M.C. Galavotti et al. (eds.), Stochastic Dependence and Causality, CSLI Publications, Stanford 2000, pp. 157-172; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 50 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Bayesian Nets Are All There Is To Causal Dependence": The paper displays the similarity between the theory of probabilistic causation developed by Glymour et al. since 1983 and mine developed since 1976: the core of both is that causal graphs are Bayesian nets. The similarity extends to the treatment of actions or interventions in the two theories. But there is also a crucial difference. Glymour et al. take causal dependencies as primitive and argue them to behave like Bayesian nets under wide circumstances. By contrast, I argue the behavior of Bayesian nets to be ultimately the defining characteristic of causal dependence.

40. "Vier Begründungsbegriffe", in: T. Grundmann (ed.), Challenges to Traditional Epistemology, Mentis, Paderborn 2001, pp. 33-52; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 49 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Vier Begründungsbegriffe": The paper distinguishes four basic notions of one assumption or proposition being a reason for (or justifying) another: a deductive notion, a computational notion, a causal notion, and a positive relevance notion (as first defended by me in No. 10). After setting these notions within three important distinctions of present-day epistemology - knowledge vs. belief, internalistic vs. externalistic, and normative vs. naturalized epistemology - and after explaining why I tend to be a normative internalist belief theorist, I compare the four notions and argue that the positive relevance notion is the most adequate and fruitful one.

39. "Deterministic Causation", in: W. Spohn, M. Ledwig, M. Esfeld, (eds.), Current Issues in Causation, Mentis, Paderborn 2001, pp. 21-46; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 48 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Deterministic Causation": The paper is the most complete presentation of my views on deterministic causation. It develops the deterministic theory in terms of ranking functions in perfect parallel to my theory of probabilistic causation (as was claimed to be possible in No. 17) and thus unites the two aspects. It also argues that the theory presented is superior to regularity and counterfactual theories of causation, in particular by giving a natural account of causal overdetermination. Since it presents a subjectivistic theory of causation, in a Humean spirit, it closes with briefly summarizing my account of how to objectify this theory of causation (which is fully presented in No. 20).

38. "Über die Struktur theoretischer Gründe", in: J. Mittelstraß (ed.), Die Zukunft des Wissens. Akten des 18. Deutschen Kongresses für Philosophie, Akademie Verlag, Berlin 2000, pp. 163-176; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 47 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Über die Struktur theoretischer Gründe": The paper sets out something like a scheme behind my various epistemological papers (Nos. 15, 18, 26, 27, 28, and 32): by explaining the relations I see between the dynamics of belief, reasons and apriority, by introducing a number of basic general principles concerning the structure of reasons (such as a ban of dogmatism, the Schein-Sein-Prinzip, a special and a general coherence principle, a weak and a strong discoverability principle, a weak and strong principle of the coherence of truth, and a weak and a very weak principle of causality), by explaining the relations between these principles, and by relating the principles to familiar doctrines like the verifiability theory of meaning, the unity of science, or internal realism.

37. "Die Logik und das Induktionsproblem", in: P. Schröder-Heister, W. Spohn, E. Olsson (eds.), Logik in der Philosophie, to appear [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Die Logik und das Induktionsproblem": The paper explains my view that the venerable problem of induction is tantamount to the question of how to revise or change our beliefs or doxastic states. It thus emphasizes the importance and fruitfulness of general theories of belief revision. Moreover, it gives a very elementary introduction to my theory of ranking functions which I still believe to be the best general theory about how to revise plain beliefs, i.e., the set of propositions held to be true.

36. "Concepts Are Beliefs about Essences" [with Ulrike Haas-Spohn], in: R. Stuhlmann-Laeisz, A, Newen, U. Nortmann (eds.), "Proceedings of an International Symposium "Gottlob Frege: Philosophy of Logic, Language and Knowledge", Stanford, CSLI Publications, 2001, pp. 287-316; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 30 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Concepts Are Beliefs about Essences": The most promising strategy to understand (sentential) narrow contents or (subsentential) concepts seems to be to conceive them as primary intensions or diagonals within the epistemologically reinterpreted character theory of Kaplan. However, this strategy seems to founder either at Block's dilemma between a too syntacticist or too holistic understanding of narrow contents and concepts or at Schiffer's problem that the character theory depends on functional role semantics without adding anything to it. The paper defends a way of steering midway of Block's dilemma without recourse to functional role semantics, a way perfectly summarized in its title.

35. "Ranking Functions, AGM Style", in: B. Hansson, S. Halld?n, N.-E. Sahlin, W. Rabinowicz (eds.), Internet Festschrift for Peter Gärdenfors, Lund 1999, s.: www.lucs.lu.se/spinning/ ; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 28 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Ranking Functions, AGM Style": The paper first points out that ranking functions are superior to AGM belief revision theory in two crucial respects, i.e. in solving the problem of iterated belief revision and in giving an adequate account of doxastic independence (this was indeed why ranking function were developed in No. 15). Second, it shows how ranking functions are uniquely reflected in iterated belief change. More precisely, it specifies conditions on threefold contractions which suffice to represent contractions by a ranking function uniquely up to multiplication by a positive integer (a result independently obtained by Matthias Hild). Thus, an important advantage AGM theory was always claimed to have over ranking functions proves to be spurious.

34. "A Rationalization of Cooperation in the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma", in: J. Nida-Rümelin, W. Spohn (eds.), Practical Rationality, Rules, and Structure, Kluwer, Dordrecht 2000, pp. 67-84, [pdf-version]

Abstract

"A Rationalization of Cooperation in the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma": The paper is essentially a short version No. 33 which emphasizes in particular how the ideas developed there may be used to shed new light on the iterated prisoner's dilemma (and on iterated Newcomb's problem). (However, I have withdrawn the final section; see No. 42.)

33. "Strategic Rationality", Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 24, 55 pp., [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Strategic Rationality": The paper argues that the standard decision theoretic account of strategies and their rationality or optimality is much too narrow, that strategies should rather condition future action to future decision situations (a point of view already developed in my Grundlagen der Entscheidungstheorie, sect. 4.4), that practical deliberation must therefore essentially rely on a relation of superiority and inferiority between possible future decision situations, that all this allows to substantially broaden the theory of practical rationality, that a long list of points attended to in the literature can be subsumed under the broadened perspective (including a novel view on the iterated prisoner's dilemma and on iterated Newcomb's problem, which, however, is revised in No. 42), and that the task to complete and systematize this list indeed forms a fruitful research programme.

32. "Two Coherence Principles", Erkenntnis 50 (1999) 155-175; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie, No. 6, 1998 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Two Coherence Principles": The paper proposes two principles of coherence (thus taking up work started in No. 18). The latter indeed serves as a weak, but precise explication of the notion of coherence as it is used in the current epistemological discussion. After discussing their epistemological setting, the paper considers four ways of establishing these principles. They may be inferred neither from enumerative induction, nor from the nature of propositions as objects of belief, nor in a Kantian way from self-consciousness. Rather, I propose a fairly rigorous way to infer them from an even more fundamental rationality principle of non-dogmatism and an elementary theory of perception.

31. "Die Philosophie und die Wissenschaften", in: Konstanzer Universitätsschriften No. 199, Universitätsverlag Konstanz 1999, 29 pp. [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Die Philosophie und die Wissenschaften": In this paper I try to give a popular characterization of how I would like to conceive of philosophy, how closely current philosophy is intertwined with many neighboring fields, and why philosophy is nevertheless essentially different.

30."Lewis' Principal Principle ist ein Spezialfall von van Fraassens Reflexion Principle", in: J. Nida-Rümelin (ed.), Rationalität, Realismus, Revision. Proceedings des 3. Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie, de Gruyter, Berlin 1999, pp. 164-173; also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 5 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Lewis' Principal Principle ist ein Spezialfall von van Fraassens Reflexion Principle": The paper explains how Lewis' (old) Principal Principle (which tries to specify the most basic connection between subjective probability, credence, and objective probability, chance) may be conceived and derived as a special case of van Fraassen's Reflexion Principle (which specifies a fundamental relation between present and future subjective probabilities).

29. "Wo stehen wir heute mit dem Problem der Induktion?", in: R. Enskat (ed.), Erfahrung und Urteilskraft, Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2000, pp. 151-164, also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 4 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Wo stehen wir heute mit dem Problem der Induktion?": The paper gives a broad overview of the current state of the discussion of the problem of induction, explains the importance of general formal treatments, and argues that its normative status cannot be dissolved into naturalized epistemology.

28. "How to Understand the Foundations of Empirical Belief in a Coherentist Way", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series 98 (1997/98) 23-40.

German version: "Wie läßt sich die Beobachtungsbasis der empirischen Erkenntnis kohärentistisch verstehen?", Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie Nr.4, [pdf-version]

Abstract

"How to Understand the Foundations of Empirical Belief in a Coherentist Way": The central claim of the paper is, roughly, that the fact that it looks to somebody as if p is a defeasibly a priori reason for assuming that p (and vice versa), for any person, even for the perceiver himself. As a preparation, it outlines a doxastic conception suitable to explicate this claim and explains how to analyse dispositions within this conception. Since an observable p has the disposition to look as if p, this analysis generalizes to the central claim which is then argued to be at the bottom of coherentism. Thus, the defense of the claim supports coherentism as opposed to foundationalism and at the same time provides an answer to skepticism about the external world.

27. "The Character of Color Terms: A Materialist View", in: W. Künne, A. Newen, M. Anduschus (eds.), Direct Reference, Indexicality and Propositional Attitudes, Stanford, CSLI Publications, 1997, pp. 351-379 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"The Character of Color Terms: A Materialist View": The paper analyzes the meaning of color terms within the framework of Kaplan's character theory (which, when generalized to a treatment of hidden indexicality or dependence on the context world, can perfectly accommodate Kripke's notions of apriority and of (metaphysical) necessity). It explains this framework and why it might be fruitfully applied to color terms. Then it defends six theses: that (1) the predicate "is red" and (2) even the relation "appears red to" are hidden indexicals (i.e., have, as used in English, different extensions in different context worlds), that (3) the phenomenal, the comparative, and the epistemic reading of "appears red to" are not three different readings, but reflect the context world dependence of this term, that (4) the statement "x is red iff x would appear red to most English-speaking people under normal conditions" is a priori in English, but analytic only in one reading and not in another, and that these observations account well for the epistemology of color terms and allow us to be metaphysically conservative by claiming that our context world is presumably such that (5) the statement "x appears red to y iff x (appropriately) causes y to be in a certain (disjunctive) neural state N" is necessarily true and (6) the statement "x is red iff the reflectance spectrum of the surface of x is of some (disjunctive) kind R" is necessarily true as well.

26. "Begründungen a priori - oder: ein frischer Blick auf Dispositionsprädikate", in W. Lenzen (ed.), Das weite Spektrum der Analytischen Philosophie. Festschrift for Franz von Kutschera, de Gruyter, Berlin 1997, pp. 323-345 [English pdf-version]

25. "Über die Gegenstände des Glaubens", in: G. Meggle (ed.), Analyomen 2. Proceedings of the 2nd Conference "Perspectives in Analytical Philosophy". Vol. I: Logic, Epistemology, Philosophy of Science, de Gruyter, Berlin 1997, pp. 291-321. Abbreviated and revised version: "The Intentional versus the Propositional Conception of the Objects of Belief", in: L. Villegas, M. Rivas Monroy, C. Martinez (eds.), Proceedings of the Congress on Truth, Logic, and Representation of the World in Santiago de Compostela 1996, Santiago de Compostela 1997, pp. 266-286, [long English pdf-version]

Abstract

"Über die Gegenstände des Glaubens": The paper deals with the question of how to conceive the objects of belief. It emphasizes its epistemological importance, defends to conceive these objects as semantic contents, characterizes such contents as sets of doxastic alternatives, and explains them in an individualistic way as narrow contents. It claims moreover that doxastic alternatives (and thus narrow contents) need structure: they do not consist only of a possible world, or of a possible world, a subject, and a time (as required for the representation of belief de se and de nunc); they must rather contain a (finite) sequence of objects, too. It offers three arguments for this claim and points to some fundamental philosophical consequences of it.

24. "On Certainty", Paper for the Workshop Certainty of the ISA World Congress 1994 in Bielefeld, also in: Forschungsberichte der DFG-Forschergruppe Logik in der Philosophie No. 2, 1998 [pdf-version]

23. "On the Properties of Conditional Independence", in: P. Humphreys (ed.), Patrick Suppes: Scientific Philosopher. Vol. 1: Probability and Probabilistic Causality, Kluwer, Dordrecht 1994, pp. 173-194 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"On the Properties of Conditional Independence": As the paper explains, it is crucial to epistemology in general and to the theory of causation in particular to investigate the properties of conditional independence as completely as possible. The paper summarizes the most important results concerning conditional independence with respect to two important representations of epistemic states, namely (strictly positive) probability measures and ranking functions (still called natural conditional functions in Nos. 15 and 16). It finally adds some new observations and thus supplements Nos. 6 and 15.

22. "On Reichenbach's Principle of the Common Cause", in: W.C. Salmon, G. Wolters (eds.), Logic, Language, and the Structure of Scientific Theories, Pittsburgh University Press 1994, pp. 215-239 [pdf-version]

Abstract

22. "On Reichenbach's Principle of the Common Cause": The paper asks: What does Reichenbach's Principle of the Common Cause say? What is its philosophical significance? And most importantly: Is the principle true? To answer this, one must first consider how one might at all argue about the principle. One can do so by way of examples or more theoretically; this is the main intent of the paper. Based on the explication of probabilistic causation proposed in Nos. 6 and 17 it is shown that a variant of the principle is provable within a classical framework. This variant is finally argued to be essentially adequate.

21. "Wie kann die Theorie der Rationalität normativ und empirisch zugleich sein?", in: L. Eckensberger, U. Gähde (eds.), Ethik und Empirie. Zum Zusammenspiel von begrifflicher Analyse und erfahrungswissenschaftlicher Forschung in der Ethik, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a.M. 1993, pp. 151-196 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Wie kann die Theorie der Rationalität normativ und empirisch zugleich sein?": The paper argues that the theory of (theoretical and practical) rationality is subject to a double reflective equilibrium. On the one hand, there is a purely normative discussion that tries to settle on some normative theory of rationality. On the other hand, empirical theorizing about human cognitive and practical behavior has to find its optimum as well in which rationality figures as a kind of intramental causality. However, there is a positive and a negative rationality presumption: roughly, whenever people show behavior A or non-A and A is rationally assessible, then A is rational or, respectively, irrational. Hence, the two equilibria are connected and have to be chosen so as to fit together. The paper elaborates on how this might work out and which overall picture of rationality thus emerges.

20. "Causal Laws are Objectifications of Inductive Schemes", in: J. Dubucs (ed.), Philosophy of Probability, Kluwer, Dordrecht 1993, pp. 223-252 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Causal Laws are Objectifications of Inductive Schemes": Since my theory of causation operates in a Humean spirit on a subjectivistic base (causes are explained only relative to ranking functions which represent doxastic states), I must address the question how causation can still be an objective relation. This is what is done in the paper. First, it briefly introduces ranking theory and the explication of causation based on it. Then it explains what it means to objectify a certain feature of ranking functions: the feature is objective to the extent in which propositions (which are objectively true or false) can be associated with that feature and in which a ranking function can be uniquely reconstructed from the propositions associated with how it realizes that feature. It is shown, roughly, that, in contrast to the reason relation as it obtains relative to a ranking function, the causal relation can be objectified under certain illuminating conditions. Hence, my final answer is that a causal law is a proposition which can be true or false and has the logical form of a law of succession, and with which a particular inductive behavior (= ranking function) is uniquely associated via the above objectification.

19. "The Utility of Pleasure is a Pain for Decision Theory" [with Anna Kusser], Journal of Philosophy 89 (1992) 10-29. [pdf-version]

German translation and revision: "Der Nutzen von Befriedigung: ein Zirkel in der Entscheidungstheorie", in: J. Nida-Rümelin, U. Wessels (eds.), Praktische Rationalität, de Gruyter, Berlin 1994, pp. 169-195

Abstract

"The Utility of Pleasure is a Pain for Decision Theory": The paper claims that Joseph Butler's criticism of hedonism still presents a serious problem. It shows that a subject's intrinsically evaluated states (called satisfactive states in the paper) are caused not only by external states of affairs, but usually also by the subject's prior utility functions for these external states of affairs. It shows further that this entails an essential incompleteness of received decision theory because the derivation of expected utilities of such external states of affairs and thus finally of acts is thereby caught in a vicious circle. The paper proposes to solve the problem by a kind of equilibrium model, and it shows that this has important consequences for hedonism and the relation between satisfaction and utility, for our conception of practical rationality and practical reasons, and for our notions of intrinsic, extrinsic, and true desires or utilities. (The German version is slightly less condensed than the English version.)

18. "A Reason for Explanation: Explanations Provide Stable Reasons", in: W. Spohn, B.C. van Fraassen, B. Skyrms (eds.), Existence and Explanation, Kluwer, Dordrecht 1991, pp. 165-196 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"A Reason for Explanation: Explanations Provide Stable Reasons": The general idea of the paper is to provide independent characterizations of scientific explanation and of scientific understanding and thereby to confirm or prove that the former yields the latter. After the beginnings of a deterministic theory of causation on the basis of No. 15 (according to which causes are a particular kind of conditional reasons; see No. 10), taking A to (causally) explain B is explicated as believing A to be a cause of B. The paper then speculates about some principles concerning reasons and their connection to truth, the strongest of which roughly says, in accordance with Putnam's internal realism, that for each true proposition there is a true ultimately stable reason. Knowing ultimately stable reasons is defended as one good way of capturing what is said about scientific understanding. So, the argument is completed by the observation that, on the basis of the given explications, having an explanation is (almost) equivalent to knowing a stable reason.

17. "Direct and Indirect Causes", Topoi 9 (1990) 125-145 [pdf-version]

16. "A General Non-Probabilistic Theory of Inductive Reasoning", in: R.D. Shachter, T.S. Levitt, J. Lemmer, L.N. Kanal (eds.), Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence 4, Elsevier, Amsterdam 1990, pp. 149-158 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"A General Non-Probabilistic Theory of Inductive Reasoning": This is a useful condensed version of No. 15, additionally explaining that ranking functions cannot be subsumed under Dempster-Shafer belief functions.

15. "Ordinal Conditional Functions. A Dynamic Theory of Epistemic States", in: W.L. Harper, B. Skyrms (eds.), Causation in Decision, Belief Change, and Statistics, vol. II, Kluwer, Dordrecht 1988, pp. 105-134 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Ordinal Conditional Functions. A Dynamic Theory of Epistemic States": It is natural and important to have a formal representation of plain belief, according to which propositions are held true, or held false, or neither. (In the paper this is called a deterministic representation of epistemic states). And it is of great philosophical importance to have a dynamic account of plain belief. AGM belief revision theory seems to provide such an account, but it founders at the problem of iterated belief revision, since it can generally account only for one step of revision. The paper discusses and rejects two solutions within the confines of AGM theory. It then introduces ranking functions (as I prefer to call them now; in the paper they are still called ordinal conditional functions) as the proper (and, I find, still the best) solution of the problem, proves that conditional independence w.r.t. ranking functions satisfies the so-called graphoid axioms, and proposes general rules of belief change (in close analogy to Jeffrey's generalized probabilistic conditionalization) that encompass revision and contraction as conceived in AGM theory. Indeed, the parallel to probability theory is amazing. Probability theory can profit from ranking theory as well since it is also plagued by the problem of iterated belief revision even if probability measures are conceived as Popper measures (see No. 11). Finally, the theory is compared with predecessors which are numerous and impressive, but somehow failed to explain the all-important conditional ranks in the appropriate way.

14. "A Brief Remark on the Problem of Interpreting Probability Objectively", in: Erkenntnis 26 (1987) 329-334

13. "Lewis' Satanischer Majestät Ansinnen", in: Critical Discussion of D. Lewis, On the Plurality of Worlds, Blackwell, Oxford 1976, Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 41 (1987) 61-75 [pdf-version]

12. "Die fünf Stufen einer Theorie der Bedeutung", in: P. Wapnewski (ed.), Wissenschaftskolleg-Jahrbuch 1985/86, Siedler, Berlin 1987, pp. 365-376 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Die fünf Stufen einer Theorie der Bedeutung": The paper describes the embracive theoretical scheme that inspires the Gricean account of linguistic meaning.

11. "The Representation of Popper Measures", Topoi 5 (1986) 69-74 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"The Representation of Popper Measures": The paper shows that all and only - additive Popper measures can be, indeed uniquely, represented by so-called dimensionally well-ordered families of - additive probability measures.

10. "Deterministic and Probabilistic Reasons and Causes", in: C.G. Hempel, H. Putnam, W.K. Essler (eds.), Methodology, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Science. Essays in Honour of Wolfgang Stegmüller on the Occasion of his 60th Birthday, Reidel, Dordrecht 1983, pp. 371-396 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Deterministic and Probabilistic Reasons and Causes": The ultimate aim of the paper is to provide for a unified account of direct causation. It starts by explicating the relation of one proposition being a reason for another as the first being positively relevant for the second. The explication is given in probabilistic terms and in deterministic terms, i.e., relative to a representation of epistemic states in which propositions are held true or false or neither (Deterministic positive relevance is here still based on the epistemic interpretation of conditionals, though I knew already that the theory presented in No. 15 is more adequate for this purpose). By examining Suppes' probabilistic theory of causation and amending it with the observation that there are not only spurious and indirect, but also hidden causes, I arrive at the conclusion that direct causes must be understood as conditional reasons: a cause is a reason for its direct effect conditional on the whole past of the effect with the exception of the cause. This lays foundations to No. 6 and to a unified account of probabilistic and deterministic causation. The theory is extended to indirect causation in No. 17.

9. "Probabilistic Causality: From Hume via Suppes to Granger", in: M.C. Galavotti, G. Gambetta (eds.), Causalità e Modelli Probabilistici, Editrice CLUEB, Bologna 1983, pp. 69-87 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Probabilistic Causality: From Hume via Suppes to Granger": The paper observes that the theory of causal dependence developed in No. 6 and more extensively justified in No. 10 is very similar to C.W.J. Granger's account of causal dependence prominent in econometrics.

8. "How to Make Sense of Game Theory", in: W. Stegmüller, W. Balzer, W. Spohn (eds.), Philosophy of Economics, Springer, Berlin 1982, pp. 239-270. Reprinted in: Y. Varoufakis, A. Housego (eds.), Game Theory: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences, Vol. IV, Discontents, Routlege, London 2001, pp. 213-241. [pdf-version] German translation and revision: "Wie läßt sich die Spieltheorie verstehen?", in: J. Nida-Rümelin, U. Wessels (eds.), Praktische Rationalität, de Gruyter, Berlin 1994, pp. 197-237 

Abstract

"How to Make Sense of Game Theory": The paper examines the extent to which game theory can be derived from a strictly Bayesian or decision theoretic point of view, since this is the only way to gain a unified theory of practical rationality. It observes that no such derivation exists and criticizes the standard arguments for the rationality of equilibrium strategies in two-person zero-sum games. It then proposes the beginnings of the theory or rationalizability (as it has been called later on) and observes its restrictions. It continues with pleading for a strict distinction of action rationality and epistemic rationality (which are confounded in game theory). The final critical discussion of Harsanyi's stance concludes that issues of epistemic rationality are independent and need to be explicitly considered in game theory and proposes to explain the subjective probabilities of the players, as they are assumed in game theory, as evolving in Bayesian game learning processes. (The postscript of the German version adds some comparative remarks on Skyrms' theory of practical deliberation.)

7. "Analogy and Inductive Logic: A Note on Niiniluoto", Erkenntnis 16 (1981) 35-52 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Analogy and Inductive Logic: A Note on Niiniluoto": The first part of the note makes some critical remarks on Niniluoto (1981) (in the same issue), arriving at the conclusion that the systems proposed by Niiniluoto fail to satisfy symmetry, positive instantial relevance, and the Reichenbach axiom, and are thus more defective than seems acceptable. As I try to show in the second constructive part, positive instantial relevance and the Reichenbach axiom may be regained for analogical inference. The note closes with some general skeptical remarks to the effect that by trying to accommodate analogy considerations inductive logic regresses to subjectivism.

6. "Stochastic Independence, Causal Independence, and Shieldability", Journal of Philosophical Logic 9 (1980) 73-99 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Stochastic Independence, Causal Independence, and Shieldability": The aim of the paper is to explicate causal independence and Reichenbach's screening-off relation, or equivalently, causal dependence and direct causal dependence (always taken as relations between sets of factors or variables) in probabilistic terms along the lines of Suppes' probabilistic theory of causality, which is amended by the observation that there are not only spurious and indirect, but also hidden causes. The notion central to the explication is that of conditional stochastic or probabilistic independence, for which the graphoid axioms, as they have been called later on, are proved to hold (see also No. 23). The adequacy of the explication is supported by proving some intuitively expected theorems, such as that unions of sets of factors causally independent from some other set are causally independent from that set as well, or that partitions into probabilistic independent parts are equivalent with partitions into causally independent parts. (Much of the paper is contained already in my Ph.D. thesis of 1976, published as Grundlagen der Entscheidungstheorie, 1978. However, the theory of indirect causal dependence developed in the paper is essentially revised in No. 17.)

5. "Putnams philosophische Aufsätze", Critical Discussion of H. Putnam, Philosophical Papers, vol. 1 and 2, Cambridge University Press 1975, in: Philosophische Rundschau 25 (1978) 199-217 [pdf-version]

4. "Where Luce and Krantz Do Really Generalize Savage's Decision Model", Erkenntnis 11 (1977) 113-134 [pdf-version]

Abstract

"Where Luce and Krantz Do Really Generalize Savage's Decision Model": The aim of the paper is a comparison of the decision models of Savage, Fishburn, Jeffrey and Luce & Krantz. Savage's model turns to represent subjective values and beliefs in a restricted way by implicitly assuming special probabilities for consequences and valuewise independence between world states and consequences. Fishburn's model overcomes both restrictions. The models of Jeffrey and Luce & Krantz are argued to be inadequate because they assume acts to be probabilistically assessed. A reinterpretation of the model of Luce & Krantz and a determination of the (intrinsic) utility function underlying their expected utility function yields the unexpected result that it generalises Savage's model with respect to utilities and not, as intended, with respect to probabilities.

3. "Die Funktion fachsprachlicher Begriffe in wissenschaftlichen Theorien", in: E. v. Savigny (ed.), Probleme der sprachlichen Bedeutung, Scriptor, Kronberg/Ts. 1976, pp. 19-38

2. "Theoretische Begriffe und explizit geregelte Sprachen", in: J.S. Petöfi, A. Podlech, E. v. Savigny (eds.), Fachsprache - Umgangssprache, Scriptor, Kronberg/Ts. 1975, pp. 143-1602. "Theoretische Begriffe und explizit geregelte Sprachen", in: J.S. Petöfi

1.  "An Analysis of Hansson's Dyadic Deontic Logic", Journal of Philosophical Logic 4 (1975) 237-252 

Abstract

"An Analysis of Hansson's Dyadic Deontic Logic": Bengt Hansson has proposed a semantics of dyadic or conditional deontic logic in terms of preference relations (in Noûs 3, 1969). This paper presents an axiomatic system and proves it to be correct, complete, and decidable (a result obtained after, but independently of D. Lewis, Counterfactuals, 1973). The subsequent informal discussion emphasizes the intuitive attractiveness of Hansson's semantics, refutes two objections against it, and finally focusses on a real intuitive inadequacy which can only be removed in a temporal frame by restricting Hansson's semantics to formulae expressing future obligations.