Igor Douven

“Formal Epistemology: Foundations and Applications” (Closed)

Igor Douven was born in The Netherlands in 1963. He obtained a Master in Law in 1990, a Master in Musicology in 1992 and a Master in Philosophy in 1993 at Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and a PhD in Philosophy in 1996 at the University of Leuven, Belgium.

The past decade has seen the rise of formal epistemology, the field of research of Igor Douven.  Strong analytical tools, such as formal logic and probability theory, are used in this field. Igor Douven focussed on theories about rational acceptability. He used tools from formal epistemology in discussions about conditionals and on calculating probabilities of conditionals and the consistency of calculating rules. In a forthcoming paper, he advocates a new theory of conditionals, which makes full use of the apparatus of Bayesian epistemology.

The granted project is entitled: “Formal Epistemology: Foundations and Applications”.
An epistemological notion that has received a lot of attention is rational acceptability, although a satisfactory formal analysis of this notion is still missing. The first central aim of this project is to develop a formally precise theory of rational acceptability, built on recent results obtained by researchers working in the area of formal epistemology. The second main aim is to deploy the theory of rational acceptability in an account of various kinds of conditional sentences. In recent work Igor Douven has proposed that for a large class of indicative conditionals, the correct assertability/acceptability conditions are to be stated in terms of rational acceptability. Firstly, this proposal should be extended to other types of conditionals; secondly, various empirical consequences of this proposal should be tested. The third main aim concerns an application of the new theory of rational acceptability to the issue of antirealist truth. The new theory of rational acceptability will help to formulate a formally precise theory of antirealist truth, which today is still missing from the literature.

Igor Douven has been nominated by the University of Leuven as a candidate for the Odysseus Group I programme. The jury concludes that Igor Douven is a very experienced epistemologist, taking part in the transformation of this field worldwide and using sophisticated methods from probability and formal logic to do so. The proposed project is an interdisciplinary project, proposing very advanced and important research. Igor Douven has been appointed since September 2005 as research professor at the University of Leuven and will continue his research in the Institute of Philosophy, a world recognized institute embedded in the University of Leuven.