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Minimal belief change, Pareto-optimality and logical consequence


  • Oliver Schulte

    () (Department of Philosophy and School of Computing Science, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., V5A 1S6, CANADA)


A rational agent changes her beliefs in response to new information; a widely held idea is that such belief changes should be minimal. This paper is an overview of the theory of minimal belief revision. I employ a decision-theoretic framework to compare various principles for minimal belief revision. The main topics covered include the AGM postulates for belief revision, belief contraction, Grove's representation theorem, axioms for conditionals, and the connections between minimal belief change and questions in formal logic. I characterize under what conditions belief revision functions are consistent with the Levi Identity, and under what conditions belief contraction functions are consistent with the Harper Identity.

Suggested Citation

  • Oliver Schulte, 2002. "Minimal belief change, Pareto-optimality and logical consequence," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 19(1), pages 105-144.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:19:y:2002:i:1:p:105-144
    Note: Received: August 20, 2000; revised version: March 19, 2001

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    More about this item


    Belief revision; Mathematical logic; Conditionals; Iterated belief change.;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


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