Jonathan Weisberg and Kenny Easwaran

Jonathan Weisberg (left) and Kenny Easwaran (right) on full and partial belief.

An epistemic agent might be more deeply committed to some of her beliefs (e.g., that 2+2=4) than others (e.g., that Obama will be re-elected in 2012). In light of this, many philosophers want to distinguish between full and partial belief. But what precisely is that distinction? Easwaran and Weisberg discuss the issue. Along the way, they consider the lottery paradox (6:29), Easwaran’s view of the merits of an inconsistent belief set (16:17), the motivation to reduce full belief to partial belief (32:18), and the relation between action and knowledge (53:09).

Related works

by Easwaran:
with Branden Fitelson: “An ‘Evidentialist’ Worry About Joyce’s Argument for for Probabilism” (draft)
“Baysianism I: Introduction and Arguments in Favor” (2011)
“Baysianism II: Applications and Criticisms” (2011)

by Weisberg:
“Varieties of Baysianism” (2011), esp. section 7
“Bootstrapping in General” (2010)

See also:
Sarah Moss, “Epistemology Formalized” (draft)
Brian Weatherson, “Knowledge, Bets, and Interests” (forthcoming)
Richard Foley, Working Without a Net: A Study of Egocentric Epistemology (1992)
Richard Foley, “Beliefs, Degrees of Belief, and the Lockean Thesis” (2009)
Scott Sturgeon, “Reason and the Grain of Belief” (2008)
David Christensen, Putting Logic in Its Place (2007)
Igor Douven and Timothy Williamson, “Generalizing the Lottery Paradox” (2006)

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4 comments to Jonathan Weisberg and Kenny Easwaran

  • Very interesting talk. You’ve convinced me to dive into some of these papers about accuracy.

  • John

    can someone tell me the full name of Sarah they’ve talked about in the last 10-15 minutes?

  • david

    Hey John–it’s Sarah Moss, I think.

  • Scott B.

    Re: the preface paradox (that an author ackowleding errors in a preface is inconsistent with same author’s presumed belief in all of the statements in the main body of the book)

    isn’t this just a time-lapse issue?

    We already accept in most ordinary situations that our beliefs may, at some future date, be shown to have been mistaken; nor do we think there’s anything contradictory in having a belief now but opposing that very belief at some future point after it’s been revealed to be false, and so modified.

    How is this any different from the standard disclaimer in an author’s preface?

    Or are we meant to extrapolate from the apparent paradox, that simply holding any set of beliefs, some of which, we recognise, are bound to turn out to be mistaken, is itself inconsistent?

    Surely it would only be self-contradicting to persist in a belief that has already been, to our own satisfaction, revealed as false?