Global Conditions on Contraction

Neil Tennant

in Changes of Mind

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199655755
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742125 | DOI:
Global Conditions on Contraction

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This chapter distinguishes among three different formal explications of a system of belief: axiomatic bases; logically closed theories; and a kind of system intermediate between those two, called a finite development. The chapter gets the reader argumentatively used to the idea that every system of belief is finite. The chapter also introduces the important idea that a system of belief is characterized by appeal to the justificatory pedigrees that it furnishes for the beliefs within it. There is more structure to a system of belief than can be read off from the list of individual beliefs within it. These considerations point to finite developments as the best formal representation of rational agents' belief-systems. The chapter raises again the problem of a much-needed explication of the notion of minimal mutilation when contracting a system of belief upon surrendering any belief within it.

Keywords: basis; development; theory; justificatory pedigree; minimal; mutilation

Chapter.  5093 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

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