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Book Index

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 8 months ago

Value and Belief (2007 updated version)


Value and Belief is my 79,314-word PhD thesis (British Library: DXN062831, University of Bristol Library: A6525) from 2003. Bits of it were written for the lay reader, but it assumed a great deal of philosophical background. It is also so interconnected that individual bits don't work well in isolation. Gradually it is evolving into Bias and Belief, as parts are rewritten in an easier style. My study of psychology has come a long way since, and Bias and Belief will make more use of psychological research.


"Value" is meant here in the sense of "valuable", i.e. the thesis is about how what we desire affects what we believe.








Part 1: The Bayesian Intentional Stance

  • The Intentional Stance
  • Problems with a Deductive System of Intentional Explanation
  • Probability and Utility
  • Objections to Real-valued Measures
  • The Mortonian Agent
  • Some Empirical Research
  • The Dual Role of Consistency Requirements
  • Beliefs and Opinions
  • Interaction between Belief and Acceptance
  • Varieties of Inconsistency
  • The Normative and Descriptive Cox Proofs


Part 2: The Utility of Truth: Defining Epistemic Values

  • Informal Uses of the Distinction
  • Sociological Approaches
  • Analytical Approaches
  • Applying Decision Theory
  • The Utility Analysis
  • Hesse's Rival Analysis 
  • What does the distinction apply to?
  • Connection to Other Folk Psychology Concepts


Part 3: Extending the Model

  • Is Desire for H to be True a Value Bias?
  • The Value of Being Informative
  • Values and Interpretation
  • Absolute and Relative Rationality
  • The Delayed Value of Truth principle


Part 4: Rationality and Science

  • Concepts of Rationality
  • Making the Distinction in Practice
  • Constrained Assertion and the Character of Science
  • Other Demarcation Criteria
  • How Many Epistemic Utilities Are There?
  • Is Bias Essential to Science? The Value Neutrality Thesis


Part 5: Dynamics of Opinion

  • Persuasion
  • The Question of Rationality
  • Motivated Inference
  • Cognitive Dissonance


Part 6: Information-Gathering Behaviour

  • Value of Information as a Scientific and Philosophical Problem
  • Two Attempts
  • Measuring Information
  • The Standard Account of the Value of Evidence
  • Information Aversion






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