Belief and Knowledge by Robert J. Ackermann (auth.)

By Robert J. Ackermann (auth.)

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Even when strong restrictions are placed on the kinds of belief to be analyzed, it turns out that all of the seemingly reasonable assumptions about rationality that have been proposed cannot be simultaneously satisfied without entailing severe difficulties. The lottery paradox is a good example of the kind of severe difficulty that is encountered, and we have developed our account by discussing this paradox in one particular form in some detail. We have seen how various strategies can be employed to relax one or more of the assumptions leading to the paradox so as to find a consistent account of rationality.

The last two paragraphs indicate how Belief Augmentation and the Disbelief Procedure can be utilized to obtain more powerful tests of consistency. The test we have sketched here will stand as our test for the consistency of belief. Intuitively, this test examines whether a man's beliefs are consistent by testing whether the total set of his beliefs is consistent with the truth of what he believes as well as the fact that he has the beliefs that he does. This test is a sufficient test for inconsistency, but it is not a complete test of consistency for a reason that is related to the reason why the Sentential Logic test of consistency is not sufficient for logical consistency in general.

A believes the theory of evolution. a believes what his mother tells him. Philosophers are generally agreed that all such cases can be found in context to be equivalent to other sentences using the familiar "a believes that" prefixed Belief and Knowledge 52 to some factual sentence. Given the right contexts, (1 )-(3) might be repbrasable as follows: (4) (5) (6) a believes that God is as Martin Luther describes Him. a believes that the theory of evolution provides the correct account of the development of life on earth.

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