Awareness and equilibrium
- 155 Downloads
There has been a recent surge of interest among economists in developing models of doxastic states that can account for some aspects of human cognitive limitations that are ignored by standard formal models, such as awareness. Epistemologists purport to have a principled reason for ignoring the question of awareness: under the equilibrium conception of doxastic states they favour, a doxastic state comprises the doxastic commitments an agent would recognise were he fully aware, so the question of awareness plays no role. The objective of this paper is to scrutinize this argument. A thesis underlying the argument, which we call the independence of doxastic commitments with respect to awareness, is identified, and examples are given where it appears to be violated. By considering these examples, one can get an idea of the price of accepting this thesis. On the one hand, one can escape the conclusion that the thesis is violated, but only at the expense of another principle espoused by all major formal models of belief, which we call constant doxastic rest; and abandoning this principle necessitates extensive revision of current models of belief. On the other hand, there are epistemologically valid reasons for thinking that the thesis fails to hold in the examples, which have to be rebutted if the thesis, and the equilibrium justification for ignoring the issue of awareness, are to be retained.
KeywordsLogical omniscience Formal representations of belief Cognitive equilibrium Awareness change Doxastic actualism Belief re-evaluation
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Gärdenfors P. (1988) Knowledge in flux : Modeling the dynamics of epistemic states. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
- Halpern, J. Y., & Rêgo, L. C. (2007). Generalized solution concepts in games with possibly unaware players. In Proceedings of the eleventh conference on theoretical aspects of rationality and knowledge, pp. 253–262.Google Scholar
- Hintikka, J. (1962). Knowledge and belief: An introduction to the logic of the two notions. London: College Publications (New Edition, 2005).Google Scholar
- Jeffrey R. C. (1972) The logic of decision (2nd ed.). University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
- Levi I. (1980) The enterprise of knowledge. An essay on knowledge, credal probability and chance. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
- Ramsey, F. P. (1931). Truth and probability. In The foundations of mathematics and other logical essays. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co.Google Scholar
- Savage, L. J. (1954). The foundations of statistics (2nd edn., 1971). New York: Dover.Google Scholar
- Stalnaker R. C. (1984) Inquiry. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar