Formal Representations of Ignorance

March 17, 2017 - March 18, 2017
Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh

8th floor (817)
Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh 15260
United States


Yann Benétreau-Dupin
University of Pittsburgh
Lee Elkin
Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy
John Norton
University of Pittsburgh

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This workshop will bring together several philosophers working directly on formal representations of ignorance. While the notion of ignorance is a familiar one, philosophers have struggled to model the epistemic state in a formal logic of belief. A well-known attempt equates ignorance with indifference in degree of belief represented by additive probability. This strategy amounts to modeling an individual’s epistemic state with an uninformative prior probability distribution such that all events in a partition of the relevant sample space are assigned equal probability. However, the attempt has proven to be futile for a number of reasons. In recent years, John Norton has issued plausible criteria a formal representation of ignorance ought to fulfill and demonstrated that the probability calculus is unable to satisfy such criteria, delivering a fatal blow to probabilists. The challenges laid out by Norton have invited some to seek amendments to classical probability or alternative models that overcome the challenges. The proposed workshop will largely focus on the problems with formal representations of ignorance and consider ways that they may be resolved or exacerbated.

Invited Speakers
Peter Brössel, Assistant Professor
    Ruhr University, Bochum & Visiting Scholar, Pitt HPS
Jennifer Carr, Assistant Professor
    UC, San Diego
Ben Eva, Postdoctoral Fellow
    MCMP, LMU Munich
Susanna Rinard, Assistant Professor
Miriam Schoenfield, Assistant Professor
    UT, Austin & Visiting Fellow, NYU
Teddy Seidenfeld, H.A. Simon University Professor of Philosophy and Statistics
    Carnegie Mellon University

Organizers and Speakers
Yann Benétreau-Dupin, Postdoctoral Fellow
    Pitt Center for Philosophy of Science
Lee Elkin, PhD Candidate
    MCMP, LMU Munich & Visiting Scholar, Pitt HPS
John D. Norton, Distinguished Professor
    Pitt HPS

SPONSOR: The Center for Philosophy of Science

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March 17, 2017, 5:00am EST

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