Belief and Surprise - A Belief-Function Formulation

03/20/2013 ∙ by Yen-Teh Hsia, et al. ∙ 0

We motivate and describe a theory of belief in this paper. This theory is developed with the following view of human belief in mind. Consider the belief that an event E will occur (or has occurred or is occurring). An agent either entertains this belief or does not entertain this belief (i.e., there is no "grade" in entertaining the belief). If the agent chooses to exercise "the will to believe" and entertain this belief, he/she/it is entitled to a degree of confidence c (1 > c > 0) in doing so. Adopting this view of human belief, we conjecture that whenever an agent entertains the belief that E will occur with c degree of confidence, the agent will be surprised (to the extent c) upon realizing that E did not occur.

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