René Descartes Lectures 2014

Lectures and Presentations

Professor Leitgeb will deliver one lecture per day. Each lecture will be followed by a discussion period and an invited commentary, again followed by an open discussion.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Introduction (presentation)

Lecture I: The Humean Thesis of Belief (presentation)

Abstract: This lecture develops the theory that  it is rational to believe a proposition just in case it is rational to have a stably high degree of belief in it. By means of the probability calculus, a particular interpretation of David Hume's conception of belief in his "Treatise of Human Nature" is explicated.


Contributed talks (abstracts):

  • Pavel Janda (Bristol University): Reflection Principle and Epistemic Utility of Future Contingents
  • Ted Shear and Branden Fitelson (Rutgers University): Diachronic Norms of Rational Full-Belief and the Pressure Toward Stability (presentation)
  • Kevin Kelly and Konstantin Genin (Carnegie Mellon University): An epistemic justification of Ockham's razor
  • Lasha Abzianidze (TiLPS): A Logic Belief with the Notion of Complexity
  • Leszek Wronski (Jagiellonian University Krakow): Constraints on credences in two not mutually exclusive propositions: the search for the best belief update function (presentation)

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Lecture II: Stability and Reasoning (presentation)

Abstract: This lecture investigates the applications of the emerging theory for suppositional-inductive reasoning on the basis of the beliefs of an agent. The consequences are evaluated with respect to the epistemic accuracy of the acquired beliefs. 


  • Nina Gierasimczuk (ILLC/University of Amsterdam)
  • Jan-Willem Romeijn (University of Groningen) (presentation)

Contributed talks (abstracts):

  • Frederik Herzberg (Bielefeld University): A graded Bayesian coherence notion (presentation)
  • Paul Thorn (Düsseldorf University): Another problem with deductive closure (presentation)
  • Jan Sprenger (TiLPS): Hypothesis Acceptance and Degree of Corroboration
  • Wolfgang Spohn (Konstanz University): The value of knowledge (presentation)
  • Gerhard Schurz (Düsseldorf University): Impossibility results for stable rational belief

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Lecture III: Stability and Action (presentation)

Abstract: This lecture adopts a more pragmatic angle and applies the belief stability theory to topics such as acceptance, action, and assertion.


  • Alexandru Baltag (ILLC/University of Amsterdam)
  • Gerhard Schurz (DCLPS/University of Düsseldorf)

Contributed talks (abstracts):

  • Roger Clarke (Queen's University Belfast): Contrastive Belief, Full and Partial (presentation)
  • Weng Hong Tang (National University of Singapore): Belief and Conditional Certainty
  • David Atkinson and Jeanne Peijnenburg (RU Groningen): Knowledge and Partial Knowledge