Ceteris Paribus in Conservative Belief Revision: On the Role of Minimal Change in Rational Theory Development
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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accepted AGM model antecedent conditions argued asteroids axioms Balzer belief revision belief set beta-decay Carnot's ceteris paribus clause ceteris paribus laws chapter claim Clausius comparative retractability conjunction conservation contraction cp-law criticism deductive deletion Earman and Roberts EE-axioms element empirical theories entrenchment ordering epistemic entrenchment exclusive disjunction explain falsifier forces formal function Gahde Gardenfors gravitation law gravitational constant Hempel Hence inconsistent initial conditions initial data instance intended applications interfering factors interpretation inverse square law Lakatos law of gravitation least entrenched logical mass hypotheses Mercury anomaly Mercury's minimal change minimal revision modus tollens neutrino Newcomb Newtonian mechanics non-vacuous observation orbit ordering of epistemic perihelion Pietroski and Rey planet plausible pre-order prediction principle proposal proposition proton provisoe Quine Quine's rational refuted relevant respect Ritz Roseveare Rott schema Schurz sense sentences specialization relation specify structuralistic structure theoretical importance theory-element tion Verrier Vulcan yields zodiacal light hypothesis