Epistemic Reasoning in Life and Literature

  • Rohit Parikh
Part of the Outstanding Contributions to Logic book series (OCTR, volume 3)


Epistemic Logic has recently acquired importance as a growing field with influence in Distributed Computing, Philosophy, Economics, and of late even in Social Science and Animal behavior. Here, on a relatively light note, we give examples of epistemic reasoning occurring in literature and used very effectively by writers like Shakespeare, Shaw, Arthur Conan Doyle, and O’Henry. For variety we also give an example of epistemic reasoning used by fireflies, although it is far fetched to suppose that fireflies use epistemic reasoning in any kind of a conscious way. Surely they are getting a lot of help from Darwin. It is this writer’s hope that epistemic reasoning as a formal discipline will some day acquire importance comparable to that of Statistics. Hopefully these examples make part of the case.


Epistemic reasoning Theory of mind Multiagent epistemology  Logic in literature Game theory in literature 



Thanks to Steven Brams, Yang Liu, Carol Parikh, Prashant Parikh, Paul Pedersen, Hilary Putnam, Noson Yanofsky and Ruili Ye for comments. This paper was supported by a grant from PSC-CUNY under the Faculty Research Assistance Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brooklyn College of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Graduate Center of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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