Ceteris Paribus in Conservative Belief Revision: On the Role of Minimal Change in Rational Theory Development

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Peter Lang, 2009 - Philosophy - 145 pages
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This work contrasts conservative or minimally mutilating revisions of empirical theories as they are identified in the presently dominant AGM model of formal belief revision and the structuralist program for the reconstruction of empirical theories. The aim is to make understandable why both approaches only partly succeed in substantially informing and formally restraining the issue. With respect to the rationality of minimal change, the overall result is negative. Readers with an interest in formal epistemology are provided with application cases (mercury anomaly, revision of early thermo-dynamics, introduction of the neutrino), the historically inclined reader is offered a systematic perspective. The discussion can largely be followed without a background in formal logic.
 

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Contents

Preface
12
Epistemic Entrenchment vs The Specialization Relation
31
The Mercury Anomaly and Minimal Revision
46
Ceteris Paribus as Completeness Assumptions
69
Ceteris Paribus Everywhere
91
The Myth and Reality of Minimal Change
113
References
132
Index
141
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

The Author: Frank Zenker studied Philosophy and Linguistics in Amsterdam, Calgary, Hamburg and New Orleans. He is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Lund (Sweden) in the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Cognitive Science. His main research interests are the Philosophy of Science and Argumentation Theory.

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