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A dynamic solution to the problem of logical omniscience

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The traditional possible-worlds model of belief describes agents as ‘logically omniscient’ in the sense that they believe all logical consequences of what they believe, including all logical truths. This is widely considered a problem if we want to reason about the epistemic lives of non-ideal agents who—much like ordinary human beings—are logically competent, but not logically omniscient. A popular strategy for avoiding logical omniscience centers around the use of impossible worlds: worlds that, in one way or another, violate the laws of logic. In this paper, we argue that existing impossible-worlds models of belief fail to describe agents who are both logically non-omniscient and logically competent. To model such agents, we argue, we need to ‘dynamize’ the impossible-worlds framework in a way that allows us to capture not only what agents believe, but also what they are able to infer from what they believe. In light of this diagnosis, we go on to develop the formal details of a dynamic impossible-worlds framework, and show that it successfully models agents who are both logically non-omniscient and logically competent.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Philosophical Logic
Pages (from-to)501-521
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

    Research areas

  • Bounded rationality, Doxastic logic, Epistemic logic, Impossible worlds, Logical omniscience, Resource-bounded reasoning, WORLDS

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