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David Thorstad
Oxford University
  1. Inquiry and the Epistemic.David Thorstad - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2913-2928.
    The zetetic turn in epistemology raises three questions about epistemic and zetetic norms. First, there is the relationship question: what is the relationship between epistemic and zetetic norms? Are some epistemic norms zetetic norms, or are epistemic and zetetic norms distinct? Second, there is the tension question: are traditional epistemic norms in tension with plausible zetetic norms? Third, there is the reaction question: how should theorists react to a tension between epistemic and zetetic norms? Drawing on an analogy to practical (...)
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  2. The Accuracy-Coherence Tradeoff in Cognition.David Thorstad - forthcoming - British Journal for Philosophy of Science.
    I argue that bounded agents face a systematic accuracy-coherence tradeoff in cognition. Agents must choose whether to structure their cognition in ways likely to promote coherence or accuracy. I illustrate the accuracy-coherence tradeoff by showing how it arises out of at least two component tradeoffs: a coherence-complexity tradeoff between coherence and cognitive complexity, and a coherence-variety tradeoff between coherence and strategic variety. These tradeoffs give rise to an accuracy-coherence tradeoff because privileging coherence over complexity or strategic variety often leads to (...)
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  3. Permissive Metaepistemology.David Thorstad - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):907-926.
    Recent objections to epistemic permissivism have a metaepistemic flavor. Impermissivists argue that their view best accounts for connections between rationality, planning and deference. Impermissivism is also taken to best explain the value of rational belief and normative assessment. These objections pose a series of metaepistemic explanatory challenges for permissivism. In this paper, I illustrate how permissivists might meet their explanatory burdens by developing two permissivist metaepistemic views which fare well against the explanatory challenges.
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  4. Two Paradoxes of Bounded Rationality.David Thorstad - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    My aim in this paper is to develop a unified solution to two paradoxes of bounded rationality. The first is the regress problem that incorporating cognitive bounds into models of rational decisionmaking generates a regress of higher-order decision problems. The second is the problem of rational irrationality: it sometimes seems rational for bounded agents to act irrationally on the basis of rational deliberation. I review two strategies which have been brought to bear on these problems: the way of weakening which (...)
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    There Are No Epistemic Norms of Inquiry.David Thorstad - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-24.
    Epistemic nihilism for inquiry is the claim that there are no epistemic norms of inquiry. Epistemic nihilism was once the received stance towards inquiry, and I argue that it should be taken seriously again. My argument is that the same considerations which led us away from epistemic nihilism in the case of belief not only cannot refute epistemic nihilism for inquiry, but in fact may well support it. These include the argument from non-existence that there are no non-epistemic reasons for (...)
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    General-Purpose Institutional Decision-Making Heuristics: The Case of Decision-Making Under Deep Uncertainty.David Thorstad - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Recent work in judgment and decisionmaking has stressed that institutions, like individuals, often rely on decisionmaking heuristics. But most of the institutional decisionmaking heuristics studied to date are highly firm- and industry-specific. This contrasts to the individual case, in which many heuristics are general-purpose rules suitable for a wide range of decision problems. Are there also general-purpose heuristics for institutional decisionmaking? In this paper, I argue that a number of methods recently developed for decisionmaking under deep uncertainty have a good (...)
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  7.  94
    Tough Enough? Robust Satisficing as a Decision Norm for Long-Term Policy Analysis.Andreas L. Mogensen & David Thorstad - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-26.
    This paper aims to open a dialogue between philosophers working in decision theory and operations researchers and engineers working on decision-making under deep uncertainty. Specifically, we assess the recommendation to follow a norm of robust satisficing when making decisions under deep uncertainty in the context of decision analyses that rely on the tools of Robust Decision-Making developed by Robert Lempert and colleagues at RAND. We discuss two challenges for robust satisficing: whether the norm might derive its plausibility from an implicit (...)
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