Isaac Levi

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Isaac Levi
Born 1930
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School American Pragmatism
Main interests Pragmatism, epistemology, decision theory, philosophy of science
Notable ideas commitment/performance distinction, corrigibilism/fallibilism distinction, indeterminate probability, Levi identity, unity of reason thesis

Isaac Levi is an American philosopher. He is the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Columbia University.[1] Levi came onto the philosophic scene with his groundbreaking first book, Gambling with Truth. In the text Levi offers a decision theoretic reconstruction of epistemology with a close-eye towards the classical pragmatist philosophers like William James and Charles Sanders Peirce. Levi is known for his pioneering work in belief revision and imprecise probability.

Levi is one of several doctoral students of Ernest Nagel who were influential in American post-war philosophy; others were Morton White, Patrick Suppes, Henry Kyburg, and Sidney Morgenbesser. Levi also served as doctoral advisor to prominent formal philosophers, including Horacio Arló-Costa and Teddy Seidenfeld. Morgenbesser once quipped that Seidenfeld, who studied under Kyburg as an undergraduate, was Kyburg's revenge upon Levi. There is a rich literature of debate between Kyburg and Levi on topics in what has come to be known as formal epistemology.

Major publications[edit]

  • Gambling with Truth, Knopf (1967), reissued in paper in 1973 by MIT Press.
  • The Enterprise of Knowledge: An Essay on Knowledge, Credal Probability and Chance, MIT (1980). Paperback (1983).
  • Decisions and Revisions, Cambridge University Press (1984).
  • Hard Choices: Decision Making under Unresolved Conflict, Cambridge University Press (1986). Paperback (1990).
  • The Fixation of Belief and Its Undoing: Changing Beliefs Through Inquiry, Cambridge University Press (1991).
  • For the Sake of the Argument: Ramsey Test Conditionals, Inductive Inference and Nonmonotonic Reasoning, Cambridge University Press (1996).
  • The Covenant of Reason: Rationality and the Commitments of Thought, Cambridge University Press (1997).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Faculty Bio - Isaac Levi". Columbia University. Retrieved 23 July 2012.