, Volume 117, Issue 2, pp 275-291

Hume's Surprise and the Logic of Belief Changes

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Abstract

If the logic of belief changes is extended to cover belief states which contain both factual and normative beliefs, it is easily shown that a change of a factual belief (an 'Is') in a mixed belief state can imply a change of a normative belief (an 'Ought') in the same state. With regard to Hume's so-called 'Is-Ought problem', this means that one has to distinguish its statics from its dynamics. When this is done, it becomes clear that changes of factual beliefs can, for rational reasons, have far-reaching normative consequences. Similarly, a change of a factual belief can imply a change of a value belief.

This revised version was published online in June 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.