Igor Douven

Igor Douven
French National Centre for Scientific Research | CNRS · Institut des Sciences humaines et sociales (INSHS)

PhD

About

209
Publications
66,843
Reads
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3,199
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 2014 - present
French National Centre for Scientific Research
Position
  • Research Director
September 2010 - September 2014
University of Groningen
Position
  • Chair in Formal Epistemology
January 2005 - August 2010
KU Leuven
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (209)
Article
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The bounded confidence model has been widely used to formally study groups of agents who are sharing opinions with those in their epistemic neighborhood. We revisit the model with an eye toward studying mis- and disinformation campaigns, which have been much in the news of late. To that end, we introduce typed agents into the model, specifically ag...
Article
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It is undeniable that inductive reasoning has brought us much good. At least since Hume, however, philosophers have wondered how to justify our reliance on induction. In important recent work, Schurz points out that philosophers have been wrongly assuming that justifying induction is tantamount to showing induction to be reliable. According to him,...
Article
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The notion of confirmation is almost as central to Bayesianism as the notion of probability. Like probability, confirmation is a graded notion: evidence can confirm a hypothesis to a greater or lesser degree (if at all). There has been debate about how to measure degree of confirmation. Participants in this debate have frequently invoked pretheoret...
Article
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Fuzzy set theory has been criticized for building on an ill-understood notion, viz., that of graded membership. To address this concern, recent work has proposed an operational definition of this notion, which experimental studies have subsequently shown to make accurate predictions regarding people's judgments of degrees of membership. It is still...
Chapter
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Classical logic was long believed to provide the norms of reasoning. But more recently researchers interested in the norms of reasoning have shifted their attention toward probability theory and various concepts and rules that can be defined in probabilistic terms. In philosophy, this shift gave rise to formal epistemology, while in psychology, it...
Chapter
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This paper considers the question of whether we could ever be warranted in inferring to more than one best explanation, even though the best explanations are incompatible with each other. This paper argues that a combination of Putnam's work on internal realism and recent insights from cognitive science on concepts suggests a positive answer.
Chapter
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This chapter looks at new theoretical work on abduction, with a special focus on arguments concerning the normative status of abduction, as well as at empirical results relevant to the question of whether theories of abduction are descriptively adequate.
Article
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The bounded confidence model has become a popular tool for studying communities of epistemically interacting agents. The model makes the idealizing assumption that all agents always have access to all other agents' belief states. We draw on resources from network epistemology to do away with this assumption. In the model to be proposed, we impose a...
Article
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Many cognitive psychologists have come to regard graded belief as fundamental to our understanding of how humans reason and many have also come to think of probability theory as providing at least part of the norms of correct reasoning. David Over has characterized this development as the emergence of a new paradigm in the Kuhnian sense. The target...
Article
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There is an ongoing debate about which rule we ought to use for scoring probability estimates. Much of this debate has been premised on scoring-rule monism, according to which there is exactly one best scoring rule. In previous work, I have argued against this position. The argument given there was based on purely a priori considerations, notably t...
Chapter
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In previous publications, we have proposed a new, inferentialist semantics for indicative conditionals. According to this semantics, the truth of a conditional requires the existence of a compelling argument from the conditional's antecedent together with contextually determined background premises to its consequent, where the antecedent is pivotal...
Article
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Central to the conceptual spaces framework is the thought that concepts can be studied mathematically, by geometrical and topological means. Various applications of the framework have already been subjected to empirical testing, mostly with excellent results, demonstrating the framework's usefulness. So far untested is the suggestion that conceptua...
Article
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According to the philosophical theory of inferentialism and its psychological counterpart, Hypothetical Inferential Theory (HIT), the meaning of an indicative conditional centrally involves the strength of the inferential connection between its antecedent and its consequent. This paper states, for the first time, the implications of HIT for the pro...
Article
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Philosophers have argued that people ought to change their graded beliefs via Bayes’ rule. Recent work in psychology indicates that people sometimes violate that rule by attending to explanatory factors. Results from computational modeling suggest that such violations may actually be rational.
Article
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There is much recent evidence showing that explanation is central to various cognitive processes. On the other hand, philosophers have argued that the notions of explanation and explanation quality are too subjective for explanation to play any role in science: what may be an adequate explanation for one person may fail to be so for another. We com...
Article
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A number of authors have recently put forward arguments pro or contra various rules for scoring probability estimates. In doing so, they have skipped over a potentially important consideration in making such assessments, to wit, that the hypotheses whose probabilities are estimated can approximate the truth to different degrees. Once this is recogn...
Article
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According to inferentialism, for an indicative conditional to be true, there must be a sufficiently strong inferential connection between its antecedent and its consequent. Previous experimental research has found support for inferentialism, but the materials used concerned a fairly abstract context, leaving open the question of how accurately the...
Chapter
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We talk and think about our beliefs both in a categorical (yes/no) and in a graded way. How do the two kinds of belief hang together? The most straightforward answer is that we believe something categorically if we believe it to a high enough degree. But this seemingly obvious, near-platitudinous claim is known to give rise to a paradox commonly kn...
Book
An edited volume about the lottery paradox and related themes, with contributions from Franz Dietrich, Igor Douven, Shira Elqayam, Kevin Kelly, Christoph Kelp, Hannes Leitgeb, Hanti Lin, Christian List, Jennifer Nagel, Dana Nelkin, Gerhard Schurz, Martin Smith, Julia Staffel, and John Turri
Chapter
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David Over has made seminal contributions to the study of human rationality, most memorably in the now-classic distinction, made in collaboration with Jonathan Evans, between normative and instrumental rationality. In this chapter, we discuss an under-explored aspect born of the tension between the two: the rationality of searching for further choi...
Article
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There is growing evidence that explanatory considerations influence how people change their degrees of belief in light of new information. Recent studies indicate that this influence is systematic and may result from people's following a probabilistic update rule. While formally very similar to Bayes' rule, the rule or rules people appear to follow...
Article
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It has recently been proposed that natural concepts are those represented by the cells of an optimally partitioned similarity space. In this proposal, optimal partitioning has been defined in terms of rational design criteria, criteria that a good engineer would adopt if asked to develop a conceptual system. It has been argued, for instance, that c...
Chapter
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Pragmatics postulates a rich typology of implicatures to explain how true assertions can nevertheless be misleading. This typology has been mainly defended on the basis of a priori considerations. We consider the question of whether the typology corresponds to an independent reality, specifically whether the various types of implicatures constitute...
Article
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In previous published research (“Conditionals and Inferential Connections: A Hypothetical Inferential Theory,” Cognitive Psychology, 2018), we investigated experimentally what role the presence and strength of an inferential connection between a conditional’s antecedent and consequent plays in how people process that conditional. Our analysis showe...
Article
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We study groups of interacting agents who are trying to discover probabilistic truths on the basis of sequentially provided evidence and information about the belief states of other group members. The main research question is which combination of epistemic principles—combinations of an evidential update rule, a rule for determining peerhood, and a...
Chapter
The term “abduction” originates in the work of the American pragmatist philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce. Roughly, he meant it to indicate the process of searching for hypotheses guided by explanatory considerations. It thus had a place in (what later came to be called) the context of discovery. Nowadays, the term “abduction” is commonly used to r...
Article
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Conceptual spaces have become an increasingly popular modeling tool in cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, and philosophy. e core idea of the conceptual spaces approach is that concepts can be represented geometrically, as regions in similarity spaces. While it is generally acknowledged that not every region in such a space represents a...
Chapter
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Vagueness is often regarded as a kind of defect of our language or of our thinking. This paper portrays vagueness as the natural outcome of applying a number of rationality principles to the cognitive domain. Given our physical and cognitive makeup, and given the way the world is, applying those principles to conceptualization predicts not only the...
Chapter
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Despite its many practical applications, fuzzy set theory is still viewed with much suspicion. That is mainly due to the fact that researchers are wary of the key relation at its core, to wit, the fuzzy (or graded) membership relation. This chapter considers work on fuzzy membership that has been carried out over the past years in philosophy and co...
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20180620-SI-SeeingColors DelvingDeeper-ColorCoordinates - Supplemental material for Delving Deeper Into Color Space
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20180620-SI-SeeingColors DelvingDeeper-DiscardedColors - Supplemental material for Delving Deeper Into Color Space
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20180620-SI-SeeingColors DelvingDeeper-RawData - Supplemental material for Delving Deeper Into Color Space
Article
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Recent evidence appears to show a close connection between explanation and belief revision, specifically, the revision of graded beliefs. Insofar as this is also evidence of violations of Bayesian norms of reasoning, the question arises whether we are facing a new bias here, on a par with previously discovered biases in probabilistic reasoning. We...
Article
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According to the Lockean thesis, a proposition is believed just in case it is highly probable. While this thesis enjoys strong intuitive support, it is known to conflict with seemingly plausible logical constraints on our beliefs. One way out of this conflict is to make probability 1 a requirement for belief, but most have rejected this option for...
Article
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So far, color-naming studies have relied on a rather limited set of color stimuli. Most importantly, stimuli have been largely limited to highly saturated colors. Because of this, little is known about how people categorize less saturated colors and, more generally, about the structure of color categories as they extend across all dimensions of col...
Article
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According to virtually all major theories of conditionals, conditionals with a true antecedent and a true consequent are true. Yet conditionals whose antecedent and consequent have nothing to do with each other -- so-called missing-link conditionals -- strike us as odd, regardless of the truth values of their constituent clauses. Most theorists att...
Article
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There is a wealth of evidence that people’s reasoning is influenced by explanatory considerations. Little is known, however, about the exact form this influence takes, for instance about whether the influence is unsystematic or due to people’s following some rule. Three experiments investigate the descriptive adequacy of a precise proposal to be fo...
Chapter
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In social epistemology, computational agent-based models have recently been much in the limelight. e present chapter describes the background of this development and pays special attention to arguably the most successful computational model in this context, the so-called Hegselmann–Krause model.
Chapter
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Linguists and philosophers commonly distinguish between semantics and pragmatics, where the former concerns the truth or falsity of linguistic items and the latter concerns aspects of the use of such items that may make them unassertable even when true. Common though the distinction is, there is an ongoing controversy about where exactly the line b...
Article
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Intuition suggests that for a conditional to be evaluated as true, there must be some kind of connection between its component clauses. In this paper, we formulate and test a new psychological theory to account for this intuition. We combined previous semantic and psychological theorizing to propose that the key to the intuition is a relevance-driv...
Article
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Many philosophers deny that happiness can be equated with pleasurable experiences. In influential work, Nozick introduced an experience machine thought experiment to support the idea that happiness requires pleasurable experiences that are " in contact with reality. " In this thought experiment, people can choose to plug into a machine that induces...
Article
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The central tendency bias is a robust finding in data from experiments using Likert scales to elicit responses. The present paper offers a Bayesian perspective on this bias, explaining it as a natural outcome of how participants provide point estimates of probability distributions over the items on a Likert scale. Two studies are reported that supp...
Conference Paper
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Recently, Meder, Mayrhofer, and Waldmann (2009, 2014) have proposed a model of causal diagnostic reasoning that predicts an interference of the predictive probability, Pr(Effect|Cause), in estimating the diagnostic probability, Pr(Cause|Effect), specifically, that the interference leads to an underestimation bias of the diagnostic probability. The...
Article
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A 2007 study by Regier, Kay, and Khetarpal purports to show that universal categories emerge as a result of optimal partitioning of color space. Regier, Kay, and Khetarpal only consider color categorizations of up to six categories. However, in most industrialized societies eleven color categories are observed. This paper shows that when applied to...
Article
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Regier, Kay, and Khetarpal report the results of computer simulations that cluster color stimuli on the basis of their coordinates in CIELAB space, one of two commonly used perceptual color spaces. Regier and coauthors find partitions of those stimuli that are strikingly similar to the way actual color lexicons partition color space. They do not ar...
Article
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There is evidence that people update their credences partly on the basis of explanatory considerations. Philosophers have recently argued that to minimize the inaccuracy of their credences, people's updates also ought to be partly based on such considerations. However, there are many ways in which explanatory considerations can factor into updating...
Article
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This paper is concerned with a version of Kamp and Partee's account of graded membership that relies on the conceptual spaces framework. Three studies are reported, one to construct a particular shape space, one to detect which shapes representable in that space are typical for certain sorts of objects, and one to elicit degrees of category members...
Article
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That one's degrees of belief at any one time obey the axioms of probability theory is widely regarded as a necessary condition for static rationality. Many theorists hold that it is also a sufficient condition, but according to critics this yields too subjective an account of static rationality. However, there are currently no good proposals as to...
Article
In a celebrated experiment, Joshua Knobe showed that people are much more prone to attribute intentionality to an agent for a side effect of a given act when that side effect is harmful than when it is beneficial. This asymmetry has become known as " the Knobe Effect." According to Knobe's Moral Valence Explanation (as we call it), bad effects trig...
Article
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This paper considers Kamp and Partee’s account of graded membership within aconceptual spaces framework and puts the account to the test in the domain ofcolors. Three experiments are reported which are meant to determine, on the onehand, the regions in color space where the typical instances of blue and green arelocated and, on the other hand, the...
Article
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Conditionals whose antecedent and consequent are not somehow internally connected tend to strike us as odd. The received doctrine is that this felt oddness is to be explained pragmatically. Exactly how the pragmatic explanation is supposed to go has remained elusive, however. This paper discusses recent philosophical and psychological work that att...
Chapter
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This chapter discusses how critics of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) complain that the rule has never been properly articulated. Another common complaint is that whatever the precise formulation of the rule, we can do without it for it must be inferior to Bayes’ rule. It is here suggested that IBE is best thought of as a slogan that can be...
Chapter
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De Finetti's semantics for conditionals has much to recommend it. However, this paper argues that it is materially inadequate because it gets the truth conditions and probabilities of nested conditionals badly wrong.
Chapter
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Formal epistemology is a young but vibrant field of research in analytic philosophy. This chapter highlights its major achievements and gives a sense of what can be accomplished by addressing problems from mainstream epistemology with the use of logic, probability theory, computer simulations, and other formal tools. The historical roots of the f...
Article
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Knowledge and Scientific Method According to scientism, our scientific knowledge is the best knowledge we have. But what exactly is it that is supposed to give this knowledge its special status? I defend the claim that scientific knowledge deserves its special status because it results from application of the scientific method.
Article
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In a recent article in this journal, Johnson–Laird and colleagues argue that mental models theory (MMT) can integrate logical and probabilistic reasoning [1]. We argue that Johnson-Laird and colleagues make a radical revision of MMT, but to ill effect. This can best be seen in what they say about truth and validity (Box 1). Formerly ([2], p. 651),...
Article
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In a recent article in this journal, Johnson-Laird and colleagues argue that mental model theory (MMT) can integrate logical and probabilistic reasoning. We argue that Johnson-Laird and colleagues make a radical revision of MMT, but to ill effect.
Article
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This paper compares inference to the best explanation with Bayes' rule in a social setting, specifically, in the context of a variant of the Hegselmann–Krause model in which agents do not only update their belief states on the basis of evidence they receive directly from the world but also take into account the belief states of their fellow agents....
Article
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There is an ongoing controversy in philosophy about the connection between explanation and inference. According to Bayesians, explanatory considerations should be given weight in determining which inferences to make, if at all, only insofar as doing so is compatible with Strict Conditionalization. Explanationists, on the other hand, hold that expla...
Article
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There has been a probabilistic turn in contemporary cognitive science. Far and away, most of the work in this vein is Bayesian, at least in name. Coinciding with this development, philosophers have increasingly promoted Bayesianism as the best normative account of how humans ought to reason. In this paper, we make a push for exploring the probabili...
Article
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Edgington has proposed a degree-theoretic account of vagueness that yields a highly elegant solution to the sorites paradox. This paper applies her account to the paradox of Theseus’ ship, which is generally classified among the paradoxes of material constitution and not as a sorites paradox.
Chapter
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This paper gives an overview of the main philosophical applications to which conceptual spaces have been put. In particular, we show how they can be used to (i) resolve in a uniform way the so-­‐called paradoxes of identity, which are basically problems concerning material constitution and change over time; (ii) answer one of the core questions in...
Article
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Edgington has proposed a solution to the sorites paradox in terms of 'verities', which she defines as degrees of closeness to clear truth. Central to her solution is the assumption that verities are formally probabilities. She is silent on what verities might derive from and on why they should be probabilities. This paper places Edgington's solutio...
Chapter
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In Putnam's characterization of metaphysical realism, this position is committed to a correspondence conception of truth as well as to the claim that truth outstrips empirical adequacy. Putnam's model-theoretic argument seeks to refute meta-physical realism by arguing that, on this conception of truth, truth and empirical adequacy must coincide. It...
Article
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Baumeister, Ainsworth, and Vohs argue that group performance depends on the degree to which group members identify with the group as well as on their degree of differentiation. The commentary discusses results from agent-based simulations suggesting that group performance depends, at least in part, on features orthogonal to agents’ caring about gro...
Chapter
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Conditionals have been studied by philosophers for over two thousand years. This should not be surprising, given how central conditionals are to human reasoning and decision making. This chapter argues that making progress in answering the questions about conditionals which have occupied so many philosophers, past and present, may require the use o...
Chapter
This paper gives an overview of the main philosophical applications to which conceptual spaces have been put. In particular, we show how they can be used to (i) resolve in a uniform way the so-called paradoxes of identity, which are basically problems concerning material constitution and change over time; (ii) answer one of the core questions in th...
Article
Full-text available
It has seemed natural to model phenomena related to vagueness in terms of graded membership. However, so far no satisfactory answer has been given to the question of what graded membership is nor has any attempt been made to describe in detail a procedure for determining degrees of membership. We seek to remedy these lacunae by building on recent w...
Article
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Bayesians understand the notion of evidential support in terms of probability raising. Little is known about the logic of the evidential support relation, thus understood. We investigate a number of prima facie plausible candidate logical principles for the evidential support relation and show which of these principles the Bayesian evidential suppo...
Article
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According to the Principle of Conditional Non-Contradiction (CNC), condi-tionals of the form "If A, Bž" and "If A, not Bž" cannot both be true, unless A is inconsistent. This principle is widely regarded as an adequacy constraint on any semantics that attributes truth conditions to conditionals. Gibbard has presented an example of a pair of cond...