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Pfeifer, Niki (2012): Naturalized formal epistemology of uncertain reasoning. Second doctoral dissertation. Professorial Dissertation, The Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science
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This thesis consists of a collection of five papers on naturalized formal epistemology of uncertain reasoning. In all papers I apply coherence based probability logic to make fundamental epistemological questions precise and propose new solutions to old problems. I investigate the rational evaluation of uncertain arguments, develop a new measure of argument strength, and explore the semantics of uncertain indicative conditionals. Specifically, I study formally and empirically the semantics of negated apparently selfcontradictory conditionals (Aristotle’s theses), resolve a number of paradoxes of the material conditional in a purely semantical way without employing pragmatics and investigate the psychological plausibility of the proposed semantics. Moreover, I defend the formalization of defeasible inferences within a probabilistic framework of nonmonotonic reasoning and empirically justify the formalizations by a series of psychological experiments. I investigate general properties of uncertain argument forms and the interrelations among logical validity, Adams’ p-validity and probabilistic informativeness.