CFP: What Are Degrees of Belief?

Submission deadline: May 31, 2018

Conference date(s):
September 11, 2018 - September 12, 2018

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

University of Leeds
Leeds, United Kingdom

Topic areas


In recent decades, philosophers and scientists have increasingly emphasised that belief is not (or not always) an all-or-nothing matter; our opinions about the way the world is often come in degrees. Unfortunately, theorising about the nature and reality of graded belief states has not kept up with the tremendous advances we've made in modelling their normative roles. Most formal epistemologists accept some form of probabilism, but there is no consensus regarding whether such ideals are humanly attainable, how far ordinary humans are from attaining them, or even what it would mean to attain them.

The focus of this workshop is primarily on understanding what degrees of belief *are*, especially as they exist in 'real', non-idealised human agents. Topics include, but are not limited to,

  • Modelling (reasoning with) degrees of belief for logically fallible and probabilistically incoherent agents
  • The conceptual and metaphysical relationships between degrees of belief and other mental states — e.g., all-or-nothing beliefs, comparative probabilities, and preferences
  • The role of idealisation in probabilistic models of belief and expected utility models of choice, and how such idealisations might relate to and inform us about psychological reality
  • Interpretivist approaches to understanding degrees of belief

The current line-up of speakers includes

  • Richard Bradley (LSE)
  • Seamus Bradley (Leeds)
  • Edward Elliott (Leeds)
  • Anna Mahtani (LSE)
  • Orri Stefansson (Stockholm/Copenhagen)

There is also room for up to four contributed papers. We are especially interested in contributions from graduate students and early career researchers, and philosophers from traditionally under-represented groups. To submit a paper, please send a pdf with a title and abstract of up to 600 words (blinded) to, by 31 May. Abstracts should be appropriate for a presentation of about 40-50 minutes. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 18 June. Note: we should have funding to offer a bursary of between 100 and 150 GBP towards the cost of travel and/or accommodation for any junior scholars whose abstracts are accepted.

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