The Humean Thesis on Belief

Logic, Probability and GamesFriday, May 2, 20144:15 pm716 Philosophy Hall, Columbia University

Hannes Leitgeb

The Humean Thesis on Belief

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

I am going to make precise, and assess, the following thesis on (all-or-nothing) belief and degrees of belief: It is rational to believe a proposition just in case it is rational to have a stably high degree of belief in it.I will start with some historical remarks, which are going to motivate calling this postulate the “Humean thesis on belief”. Once the thesis has been formulated in formal terms, it is possible to derive conclusions from it. Three of its consequences I will highlight in particular: doxastic logic; an instance of what is sometimes called the Lockean thesis on belief; and a simple qualitative decision theory.

Hannes Leitgeb completed a Masters (1997) and a PhD degree (1998) in mathematics and a PhD degree (2001) in philosophy, each at the University of Salzburg, where he later also worked as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Philosophy. In 2003 he received an Erwin-Schrödinger Fellowship from the Austrian Research Fund FWF on the basis of which he did research at the Department of Philosophy/CSLI at Stanford University. In 2005 he took up a joint position as a Reader at the Departments of Philosophy and Mathematics in Bristol. In 2007 he became Professor of Mathematical Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics. In autumn 2010 he became Chair of Logic and Philosophy of Language, Alexander von Humboldt Professor, and Head of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy at the LMU Munich.

Hannes Leitgeb’s research interests are in logic (theories of truth and modality, paradox, conditionals, nonmonotonic reasoning, dynamic doxastic logic), epistemology (belief, inference, belief revision, foundations of probability, Bayesianism), philosophy of mathematics (structuralism, informal provability, abstraction, criteria of identity), philosophy of language (indeterminacy of translation, compositionality), cognitive science (symbolic representation and neural networks, metacognition), philosophy of science (empirical content, measurement theory), and history of philosophy (Logical Positivism, Carnap, Quine). He is very much in favour of Mathematical or Formal Philosophy, i.e., the application of logical and mathematical methods in philosophy.

Posted by on April 16th, 2014