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Synthese

, Volume 131, Issue 1, pp 39–56 | Cite as

A Brief Comparison Of Pollock's Defeasible Reasoning And Ranking Functions

  • Wolfgang Spohn
Article

Abstract

In this paper two theories of defeasible reasoning, Pollock's account and my theory of ranking functions, are compared, on a strategic level, since a strictly formal comparison would have been unfeasible. A brief summary of the accounts shows their basic difference: Pollock's is a strictly computational one, whereas ranking functions provide a regulative theory. Consequently, I argue that Pollock's theory is normatively defective, unable to provide a theoretical justification for its basic inference rules and thus an independent notion of admissible rules. Conversely, I explain how quite a number of achievements of Pollock's account can be adequately duplicated within ranking theory. The main purpose of the paper, though, is not to settle a dispute with formal epistemology, but rather to emphasize the importance of formal methods to the whole of epistemology.

Keywords

Formal Method Inference Rule Ranking Function Basic Difference Theoretical Justification 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Spohn
    • 1
  1. 1.Fachbereich PhilosophieUniversität KonstanzKonstanzGermany

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