Chapter

Cognitive Decisions

Isaac Levi

in Mild Contraction

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780199270705
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601774 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199270708.003.0002
Cognitive Decisions

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Changes of doxastic commitment by contraction are to be understood as decision-theoretic: the problem of how to contract is a decision problem. Parallel issues relating to inductive expansion and abduction are set out. A number of potential contractions are distinguished. The “commensuration requirement” is defined as requiring that every change in state of full belief should entail a justification of a contraction or an expansion, and is defended. It is suggested that there are two contexts in which inquirers do legitimately contract: when they inadvertently expand into inconsistency; and when doing so enables them to give a serious hearing to an important conjecture without begging the question in favour of or against it. Options in cognitive decision-making are discussed, and it is argued that some expansion is deliberate.

Keywords: abduction; cognitive decision-making; commensuration requirement; decision theory; deliberate expansion; doxastic commitment; induction

Chapter.  12222 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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