Logical ignorance and logical learning

Synthese 198 (10):9991-10020 (2021)
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According to certain normative theories in epistemology, rationality requires us to be logically omniscient. Yet this prescription clashes with our ordinary judgments of rationality. How should we resolve this tension? In this paper, I focus particularly on the logical omniscience requirement in Bayesian epistemology. Building on a key insight by Hacking :311–325, 1967), I develop a version of Bayesianism that permits logical ignorance. This includes: an account of the synchronic norms that govern a logically ignorant individual at any given time; an account of how we reduce our logical ignorance by learning logical facts and how we should update our credences in response to such evidence; and an account of when logical ignorance is irrational and when it isn’t. At the end, I explain why the requirement of logical omniscience remains true of ideal agents with no computational, processing, or storage limitations.

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Richard Pettigrew
University of Bristol


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