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Formal epistemology uses formal methods from decision theory, logic, probability theory and computability theory to model and reason about issues of epistemological interest. Work in this area spans several academic fields, including philosophy, computer science, economics, and statistics. The focus of formal epistemology has tended to differ somewhat from that of traditional epistemology, with topics like uncertainty, induction, and belief revision garnering more attention than the analysis of knowledge, skepticism, and issues with justification.
Though formally oriented epistemologists have been laboring since the emergence of formal logic and probability theory (if not earlier), only recently have they been organized under a common disciplinary title. This gain in popularity may be attributed to the organization of yearly Formal Epistemology Workshops by Branden Fitelson and Sahotra Sarkar, starting in 2004, and the PHILOG-conferences starting in 2002 (The Network for Philosophical Logic and Its Applications) organized by Vincent F. Hendricks. Carnegie Mellon University's Philosophy Department hosts an annual summer school in logic and formal epistemology. In 2010, the department founded the Center for Formal Epistemology.
Some of the topics that come under the heading of formal epistemology include:
- Ampliative inference (including inductive logic);
- Belief revision theory
- Game theory and decision theory;
- Algorithmic learning theory (computational epistemology);
- Formal approaches to paradoxes of belief and/or action;
- Formal models of epistemic states, like belief and uncertainty;
- Formal theories of coherentism and confirmation;
- Foundations of probability and statistics.
List of contemporary formal epistemologists
- Luc Bovens (Bayesian epistemology, probability, etc.)
- Joseph Halpern (reasoning about knowledge and uncertainty)
- Sven Ove Hansson (risk, decision theory, belief revision, deontic logic)
- Gilbert Harman (epistemology, statistical learning theory, mind and language)
- Stephan Hartmann (Bayesian epistemology, probability, collective decision-making, etc.)
- Vincent F. Hendricks Copenhagen and Columbia, Philosophy (epistemic logic, formal learning theory, information processing and analysis of democracy)
- Richard Jeffrey (probabilistic reasoning)
- Isaac Levi Columbia, Philosophy (belief revision, decision theory, probability)
- Rohit Parikh CUNY, Computer Science (epistemic logic, common knowledge)
- Gregory Wheeler (probability, logic)
- Timothy Williamson (knowledge, modality, logic, vagueness, etc.)
- David Wolpert (No Free Lunch theorems, i.e., Hume done rigorously; physics and inference, i.e., monotheism theorems, Chomsky hierarchy of inference devices, etc.)
- Algorithmic learning theory
- Belief revision
- Computability theory
- Computational learning theory
- Game theory
- Inductive logic
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- Arlo-Costa, H, van Benthem, J. and Hendricks, V. F. (eds.) (2012). A Formal Epistemology Reader. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Bovens, L. and Hartmann, S. (2003). Bayesian Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Hendricks, V. F. (2001). The Convergence of Scientific Knowledge: A View from The Limit. Dordrect: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
- Hendricks, V. F. (2006). Mainstream and Formal Epistemology. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Hendricks, V. F. (ed.) (2006). Special issue on “8 Bridges Between Mainstream and Formal Epistemology”, Philosophical Studies.
- Hendricks, V. F. (ed.) (2006). Special issue on “Ways of Worlds I-II”, Studia Logica.
- Hendricks, V.F. and Pritchard, D. (eds.) (2006). New Waves in Epistemology. Aldershot: Ashgate.
- Hendricks, V. F. and Symons, J. (eds.) (2005). Formal Philosophy. New York: Automatic Press / VIP. 
- Hendricks, V. F. and Symons, J. (eds.) (2006). Masses of Formal Philosophy. New York: Automatic Press / VIP. 
- Hendricks, V. F. and Hansen, P.G. (eds.) (2007). Game Theory: 5 Questions. New York: Automatic Press / VIP. 
- Hendricks, V.F. and Symons, J. (2006). Epistemic Logic. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford. CA: USA.
- Wolpert, D.H., (1996) The lack of a priori distinctions between learning algorithms, Neural Computation, pp. 1341–1390.
- Wolpert, D.H., (1996) The existence of a priori distinctions between learning algorithms, Neural Computation, pp. 1391–1420.
- Wolpert, D.H., (2001) Computational capabilities of physical systems. Physical Review E, 65(016128).
- Zhu, H.Y. and R. Rohwer, (1996) No free lunch for cross-validation, pp. 1421– 1426.
- Formal epistemology at the Indiana Philosophy Ontology Project
- Formal epistemology at PhilPapers
- Formal Epistemology Workshop
- Formal Epistemology Meets Experimental Philosophy Workshop
- Formal Epistemology Archive
- Carnegie Mellon Summer School in Logic and Formal Epistemology
- Formal Philosophy
- Formal Epistemology, a free online journal.
- The Reasoner
- Formal Epistemology Project
- Carnegie Mellon Center for Formal Epistemology
- Formal Epistemology
- Formal epistemology & Logics