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  1. Ranking Theory.Gabriele Kern-Isberner, Niels Skovgaard-Olsen & Wolfgang Spohn - forthcoming - Knauff, M. & Spohn, W. (Eds). The Handbook of Rationality. MIT Press.
    Ranking theory is one of the salient formal representations of doxastic states. It differs from others in being able to represent belief in a proposition (= taking it to be true), to also represent degrees of belief (i.e. beliefs as more or less firm), and thus to generally account for the dynamics of these beliefs. It does so on the basis of fundamental and compelling rationality postulates and is hence one way of explicating the rational structure of doxastic states. Thereby (...)
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  • Relevance and Reason Relations.Niels Skovgaard‐Olsen, Henrik Singmann & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (S5):1202-1215.
    This paper examines precursors and consequents of perceived relevance of a proposition A for a proposition C. In Experiment 1, we test Spohn's assumption that ∆P = P − P is a good predictor of ratings of perceived relevance and reason relations, and we examine whether it is a better predictor than the difference measure − P). In Experiment 2, we examine the effects of relevance on probabilistic coherence in Cruz, Baratgin, Oaksford, and Over's uncertain “and-to-if” inferences. The results suggest (...)
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  • Making Ranking Theory Useful for Psychology of Reasoning.Niels Skovgaard Olsen - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Konstanz
    An organizing theme of the dissertation is the issue of how to make philosophical theories useful for scientific purposes. An argument for the contention is presented that it doesn’t suffice merely to theoretically motivate one’s theories, and make them compatible with existing data, but that philosophers having this aim should ideally contribute to identifying unique and hard to vary predictions of their theories. This methodological recommendation is applied to the ranking-theoretic approach to conditionals, which emphasizes the epistemic relevance and the (...)
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  • Norm Conflicts and Conditionals.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, David Kellen, Ulrike Hahn & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2019 - Psychological Review (5):611-633.
    Suppose that two competing norms, N1 and N2, can be identified such that a given person’s response can be interpreted as correct according to N1 but incorrect according to N2. Which of these two norms, if any, should one use to interpret such a response? In this paper we seek to address this fundamental problem by studying individual variation in the interpretation of conditionals by establishing individual profiles of the participants based on their case judgments and reflective attitudes. To investigate (...)
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  • The Relevance Effect and Conditionals.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, Henrik Singmann & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2016 - Cognition 150:26-36.
    More than a decade of research has found strong evidence for P(if A, then C) = P(C|A) (“the Equation”). We argue, however, that this hypothesis provides an overly simplified picture due to its inability to account for relevance. We manipulated relevance in the evaluation of the probability and acceptability of indicative conditionals and found that relevance moderates the effect of P(C|A). This corroborates the Default and Penalty Hypothesis put forward in this paper. Finally, the probability and acceptability of concessive conditionals (...)
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  • Relevance Differently Affects the Truth, Acceptability, and Probability Evaluations of “and”, “but”, “Therefore”, and “If–Then”.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, David Kellen, Hannes Krahl & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2017 - Thinking and Reasoning 23 (4):449-482.
    In this study we investigate the influence of reason-relation readings of indicative conditionals and ‘and’/‘but’/‘therefore’ sentences on various cognitive assessments. According to the Frege-Grice tradition, a dissociation is expected. Specifically, differences in the reason-relation reading of these sentences should affect participants’ evaluations of their acceptability but not of their truth value. In two experiments we tested this assumption by introducing a relevance manipulation into the truth-table task as well as in other tasks assessing the participants’ acceptability and probability evaluations. Across (...)
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  • Relevance and Conditionals: A Synopsis of Open Pragmatic and Semantic Issues.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - forthcoming - In S. Elqayam, Igor Douven, J. Evans & N. Cruz (eds.), Festschrift for David Over. Routledge.
    Recently several papers have reported relevance effects on the cognitive assessments of indicative conditionals, which pose an explanatory challenge to the Suppositional Theory of conditionals advanced by David Over, which is influential in the psychology of reasoning. Some of these results concern the “Equation” (P(if A, then C) = P(C|A)), others the de Finetti truth table, and yet others the uncertain and-to-inference task. The purpose of this chapter is to take a Birdseye view on the debate and investigate some of (...)
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  • Cancellation, Negation, and Rejection.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, Peter Collins, Karolina Krzyżanowska, Ulrike Hahn & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2019 - Cognitive Psychology 108:42-71.
    In this paper, new evidence is presented for the assumption that the reason-relation reading of indicative conditionals ('if A, then C') reflects a conventional implicature. In four experiments, it is investigated whether relevance effects found for the probability assessment of indicative conditionals (Skovgaard-Olsen, Singmann, and Klauer, 2016a) can be classified as being produced by a) a conversational implicature, b) a (probabilistic) presupposition failure, or c) a conventional implicature. After considering several alternative hypotheses and the accumulating evidence from other studies as (...)
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  • Motivating the Relevance Approach to Conditionals.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (5):555-579.
    The aim is to motivate theoretically a relevance approach to conditionals in a comparative discussion of the main alternatives. In particular, it will be argued that a relevance approach to conditionals is better motivated than the suppositional theory currently enjoying wide endorsement. In the course of this discussion, an argument will be presented for why failures of the epistemic relevance of the antecedent for the consequent should be counted as genuine semantic defects. Furthermore, strategies for dealing with compositionality and the (...)
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  • Ranking Theory.Franz Huber - 2019 - In Richard Pettigrew & Jonathan Weisberg (eds.), The Open Handbook of Formal Epistemology. PhilPapers Foundation. pp. 397-436.
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  • Why Follow the Royal Rule?Franz Huber - 2017 - Synthese 194 (5).
    This note is a sequel to Huber. It is shown that obeying a normative principle relating counterfactual conditionals and conditional beliefs, viz. the royal rule, is a necessary and sufficient means to attaining a cognitive end that relates true beliefs in purely factual, non-modal propositions and true beliefs in purely modal propositions. Along the way I will sketch my idealism about alethic or metaphysical modality.
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  • Putting Inferentialism and the Suppositional Theory of Conditionals to the Test (Second Dissertation, Psychology).Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Freiburg
    This dissertation is devoted to empirically contrasting the Suppositional Theory of conditionals, which holds that indicative conditionals serve the purpose of engaging in hypothetical thought, and Inferentialism, which holds that indicative conditionals express reason relations. Throughout a series of experiments, probabilistic and truth-conditional variants of Inferentialism are investigated using new stimulus materials, which manipulate previously overlooked relevance conditions. These studies are some of the first published studies to directly investigate the central claims of Inferentialism empirically. In contrast, the Suppositional Theory (...)
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  • The Epistemic Account of Ceteris Paribus Conditions.Wolfgang Spohn - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (3):385-408.
    The paper focuses on interpreting ceteris paribus conditions as normal conditions. After discussing six basic problems for the explication of normal conditions and seven interpretations that do not well solve those problems I turn to what I call the epistemic account. According to it the normal is, roughly, the not unexpected. This is developed into a rigorous constructive account of normal conditions, which makes essential use of ranking theory and in particular allows to explain the phenomenon of multiply exceptional conditions. (...)
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  • What Should I Believe About What Would Have Been the Case?Franz Huber - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (1):81-110.
    The question I am addressing in this paper is the following: how is it possible to empirically test, or confirm, counterfactuals? After motivating this question in Section 1, I will look at two approaches to counterfactuals, and at how counterfactuals can be empirically tested, or confirmed, if at all, on these accounts in Section 2. I will then digress into the philosophy of probability in Section 3. The reason for this digression is that I want to use the way observable (...)
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  • Conditionals and Inferential Connections: Toward a New Semantics.Igor Douven, Shira Elqayam, Henrik Singmann & Janneke van Wijnbergen-Huitink - forthcoming - Thinking and Reasoning:1-41.
    In previous published research, 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 showed the strength of that connection to be strongly predictive of whether participants evaluated the conditional as true, false, or neither true nor false. In this article, we re-analyse the data from our previous research, now focussing on the semantics of conditionals rather than on how they are processed. (...)
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  • Deliberationally Useless Conditionals.Karolina Krzyżanowska - forthcoming - Episteme:1-27.
    Decision theorists tend to treat indicative conditionals with reservation, because they can easily lead a deliberating agent astray. However, many indicatives can be very helpful in contexts of deliberation, so denying them all a role in such contexts seems to be overkill. We show that a recently revived inferential view on conditionals provides a straightforward explanation of why some indicatives are unassertable in contexts of deliberation and hints at a way of telling "deliberationally useless" and "deliberationally useful" conditionals apart.
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  • Conditionals, Causality and Conditional Probability.Robert van Rooij & Katrin Schulz - 2019 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 28 (1):55-71.
    The appropriateness, or acceptability, of a conditional does not just ‘go with’ the corresponding conditional probability. A condition of dependence is required as well. In this paper a particular notion of dependence is proposed. It is shown that under both a forward causal and a backward evidential reading of the conditional, this appropriateness condition reduces to conditional probability under some natural circumstances. Because this is in particular the case for the so-called diagnostic reading of the conditional, this analysis might help (...)
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  • Ranking Theory and Conditional Reasoning.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2016 - Cognitive Science 40 (4):848-880.
    Ranking theory is a formal epistemology that has been developed in over 600 pages in Spohn's recent book The Laws of Belief, which aims to provide a normative account of the dynamics of beliefs that presents an alternative to current probabilistic approaches. It has long been received in the AI community, but it has not yet found application in experimental psychology. The purpose of this paper is to derive clear, quantitative predictions by exploiting a parallel between ranking theory and a (...)
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