Greg Wheeler on coherence — 12pm on 11/14 in 716 Philosophy Hall at Columbia University

November 12, 2011

Here is the abstract for Greg’s talk:


Coherence at last!

Gregory Wheeler (joint work with Richard Scheines, Carnegie Mellon)

Coherentism maintains that coherent beliefs are more likely to be true than incoherent beliefs, and that coherent evidence provides more confirmation of a hypothesis when the evidence is made coherent by the explanation provided by that hypothesis. Although probabilistic models of credence ought to be well-suited to justifying such claims, negative results from Bayesian epistemology have suggested otherwise. In this essay we argue that the connection between coherence and confirmation should be understood as a relation mediated by the causal relationships among the evidence and a hypothesis, and we offer a framework for doing so by fitting together probabilistic models of coherence, confirmation, and causation. We show that the causal structure among the evidence and hypothesis is sometimes enough to determine whether the coherence of the evidence boosts confirmation of the hypothesis, makes no difference to it, or even reduces it.  We also show that, ceteris paribus, it is not the coherence of the evidence that boosts confirmation, but rather the ratio of the coherence of the evidence to the coherence of the evidence conditional on a hypothesis.

Two items that might be of interest to the FE community

October 9, 2011

First, slides from each of the Progic 2011 talks are now available.

Second, if you happen to be around Toronto later this month, then you might want to check of the following event honoring the work of Isaac Levi.

Progic 2011 on September 10th and 11th at Columbia University

September 2, 2011

The Progic conference series is intended to promote interactions between probability and logic. The fifth installment of the series will be held at Columbia University in New York on September 10th and 11th of 2011. While several of the earlier Progic meetings included a special focus, Progic 2011 will honor Haim Gaifman‘s contributions to the intersection of probability and logic. Progic 2011 will consist of 11 talks, including invited talks by the following:

Progic 2011 will also include a memorial session to honor Horacio Arlo-Costa (Carnegie Mellon) who was scheduled to speak at the conference but passed away on July 14, 2011.

Here is the schedule:

Saturday, September 10th – in 602 Hamilton Hall

Morning session

9:45-10:00 Opening remarks

10:00-11:00 Mixing modality and probability (yet again)

Dana Scott (Carnegie Mellon)

11:00-11:20 Q&A

10 min break

11:30-12:00 From Bayesian epistemology to inductive logic

Jon Williamson (Kent)

12:00-12:10 Q&A

5 min break

12:15-12:45 Ultralarge lotteries: dissolving the lottery paradox using non-standard analysis

Sylvia Wenmackers (Groningen)

12:45-12:55 Q&A


Afternoon session

2:25-3:25 T.b.a.

Rohit Parikh (CUNY Graduate Center)

3:25-3:45 Q&A

5 min break

3:50-4:20 Coherence based probability logic: philosophical and psychological applications

Niki Pfeifer (Munich)

4:20-4:30 Q&A

20 min break

4:50-5:20 Matryoshka epistemology: the role of cores in belief and decision

Paul Pedersen (Carnegie Mellon)

5:20-5:30 Q&A

5:30 – 6:30 Memorial for Horacio Arlo Costa

Sunday, September 11th – in 403 IAB

Morning session

10:25-10:30 Opening announcements

10:30-11:30 Pure inductive logic

Jeff Paris (Manchester)

11:30-11:50 Q&A

10 min break

12:00-12:30 Probabilities on sentences in an expressive logic

M. Hutter (ANU), J. Lloyd (ANU), K. Ng (ANU), and W. Uther (National ICT)

12:30-12:40 Q&A


Afternoon session

2:10-2:40 Confirmation as partial entailment: a representation theorem in inductive logic

Vincenzo Crupi (Munich) and Katya Tentori (Trento)

2:40-2:50 Q&A

5 min break

 2:55-3:25 On a priori and a posteriori reasoning

Anubav Vasudevan (Chicago)

3:25-3:35 Q&A

10 min break

3:45-4:45 T.b.a.

Haim Gaifman (Columbia)

4:45-5:05 Q&A

5:05-5:15 Closing remarks

WSF Interactive Broadcast: The Illusion of Certainty

June 21, 2011

This interactive broadcast from the World Science Festival begins at 2pm on June 22 and builds on The Illusion of Certainty: Risk, Probability, and Chance, which was held at WSF on June 2. Here is the abstract from that earlier program:

“Stuff happens. The weather forecast says it’s sunny, but you just got drenched. You got a flu shot—but you’re sick in bed with the flu. Your best friend from Boston met your other best friend from San Francisco. Coincidentally. What are the odds? Risk, probability, chance, coincidence—they play a significant role in the way we make decisions about health, education, relationships, and money. But where does this data come from and what does it really mean? How does the brain find patterns and where can these patterns take us? When should we ditch the data and go with our gut? Join us in a captivating discussion that will demystify the chancy side of life.”


Special Session on Bruno de Finetti at ISIPTA ’11

June 8, 2011

Details can be found here.

An interview with Haim Gaifman and a last call for Progic 2011

May 25, 2011

… in the June issue of The Reasoner.

Also, the deadline for Progic 2011 is June 1.


May 20, 2011

Please note this very important post from Brian Leiter (John P. Wilson Professor of Law at Chicago):

“European formal philosophers, don’t relax yet…

…we ain’t done with Synthese yet! More next week…”

Here is a link to the post over at Leiter Reports.

This is not a drill, folks. I repeat, THIS IS NOT A DRILL (although this is a picture of one). Professor Leiter is known on this side of the Atlantic as the Philosopher Kingmaker and “the most powerful man in academic philosophy” for a reason.

What do formal philosophers think of the following post from Leiter Reports?

May 12, 2011

Here is the text:

It’s not just economics departments that succumb to corporate money

Philosopher William Mark Goodwin (Rowan) flags the following ad from Jobs for Philosophers (I added the bolding):

27. UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS, ST. LOUIS, MO. Visiting Associate Professor, two-year appointment (non-tenure track), Department of Philosophy. Begins Fall Semester (August 15) 2011. AOS: logic, philosophy of science, game theory. AOC: decision theory, philosophy of biology, ethics. Undergraduate and graduate teaching; two courses per semester; thesis advising; no service except professional. Research expectations in keeping with the highest level (“research intensive”) described in our departmental workload document ( Applicant must have a record of securing outside grants and be prepared to submit grants to fund research in Rational Preference aligned with the interests of our campus’s corporate partner, Express Scripts. Salary competitive. Send CV, three letters of recommendation, and a writing sample to VAP Search, Department of Philosophy, University of Missouri-St. Louis, One University Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63121. The University of Missouri is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to excellence through diversity. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply. Application review will begin May 26, 2011. (190W), posted: 5/12/2011.”

Here is a link to the post over at Leiter Reports. I’m not sure why we should think that the advertised position is a bad thing. Also, since the position concerns formal philosophy and formal areas of philosophy seem among the most likely to gain corporate support of the kind mentioned in the advertisement under consideration, I’m wondering what formal philosophers think about these issues.


April 29, 2011



Guangzhou, China, October 10-13, 2011




October 10 – 13, 2011
Institute of Logic & Cognition, Sun Yat-sen University
Guangzhou, China

We invite submissions of contributed paper bearing on any of the broad themes of the LORI workshop series, including knowledge acquisition, use, and management, information exchange, rational action, and rational interaction. Specific topics of interest include but are not limited to:

* semantic models for knowledge, for belief, and for uncertainty
* dynamic logics of knowledge, information flow, and action
* logical analysis of the structure of games
* belief revision, belief merging
* logics and preferences, compact preference representation
* logics of intentions, plans, and goals
* logics of probability and uncertainty
* logical approaches to decision making and planning
* argument systems and their role in interaction
* norms, normative interaction, and normative multiagent systems
* logical and computational approaches to social choice

Papers can be submitted on the Easychair site for the conference and should be no longer than 4,000 words (approximately 12 double spaced pages). Submissions may but need not be prepared with LNCS Proceedings Style, although final versions of accepted submissions *must* be prepared with LNCS proceedings style.


A LNCS Proceedings Volume containing all accepted papers will be available at the workshop. Authors of selected papers will be invited after the conference to submit to a special issue of the journal Knowledge, Rationality and Action.


See the conference website or go directly to the Easychair submission page:

Tentative dates

Submission Deadline: June 1, 2011
Notification: June 25, 2011
Final version due: July 15, 2011
Conference: October 10 – 13, 2011

Progic 2011 at Columbia — deadline extended

April 23, 2011

The Progic conference series is intended to promote interactions  between probability and logic. The fifth installment of the series will be held at Columbia University in New York on September 10th and 11th of 2011. Progic 2011 will also be an occasion to honor Haim Gaifman’s contributions to the intersection of probability and logic. The meeting will consist of 10 talks, 5 invited and 5 contributed. Note that the deadline for submissions has been pushed back to June 1, 2011. Please see the following page for additional details, including the list of invited speakers:

Please help to spread the word about Progic 2011!!!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 89 other followers