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Reflections on Reflection: van Fraassen on Belief

Green, Mitchell S. and Hitchcock, Christopher R. (1994) Reflections on Reflection: van Fraassen on Belief. Synthese, 98 (2). pp. 297-324. ISSN 0039-7857.

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In 'Belief and the Will', van Fraasssen employed a diachronic Dutch Book argument to support a counterintuitive principle called Reflection. Tere and subsequently van Fraassen has put forth Reflection as a linchpin for his views in epistemology and the philosophy of science, and for the voluntarism (first-person reports of subjective probability are undertakings of commitments) that he espouses as an alternative to descriptivism (first-person reports of subjective probability are merely self-descriptions). Christensen and others have attacked Reflection, taking it to have unpalatable consequences. We prescind from the question of the cogency of diachronic Dutch Book arguments, and focus on Reflection's proper interpretation. We argue that Reflection is not as counterintuitive as it appears - that once interpreted properly the status of the counterexamples given by Christensen and others is left open. We show also that descriptivism can make sense of Reflection, while voluntarism is not especially well suited to do so.

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Additional Information:© 1994 Kluwer Academic Publishers. We are grateful to Nuel Belnap, Cristina Bicchiefi, Susan Sterrett, Richmond Thomason, Michael Thompson, and two anonymous referees for useful discussion. For any errors that may remain, each of us blames the other guy.
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140408-095950713
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:44747
Deposited By: Susan Vite
Deposited On:08 Apr 2014 17:23
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 06:21

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