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Journal of Logic and Computation

Volume 13, Issue 1, February 2003: pp. 111-145

Coherence and Conservatism in the Dynamics of Belief II: Iterated Belief Change without Dispositional Coherence

Hans Rott1

1Department of Philosophy, University of Regensburg, 93040 Regensburg, Germany. E-mail: hans.rott@psk.uni-regensburg.de

This paper studies the idea of conservatism with respect to belief change strategies in the setting of unary, iterated belief revision functions (based on the conclusions of Rott, 'Coherence and Conservatism in the Dynamics of Belief, Part I: Finding the Right Framework', Erkenntnis 50, 1999, 387-412). Special attention is paid to the case of 'basic belief change' where neither the (weak) AGM postulates concerning conservatism with respect to beliefs nor the (stong) supplementary AGM postulates concerning dispositional coherence need to be satisfied. One-step belief change generated by 'basic entrenchment' is combined with a natural conservative method of revising entrenchment relations. A logical characterization of this method is presented, and it is compared with three other methods known from the literature which I call 'external', 'radical' and 'moderate' belief revision. While conservative belief change turns out to be incoherent in its treatment of the recency of information, moderate belief change is more satisfactory in this respect.

Keywords: Belief revision; theory change; iterated revision; coherence; conservatism; AGM approach; epistemic entrenchment

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