Gricean belief change

James P. Delgrande, Abhaya C. Nayak, Maurice Pagnucco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the standard principles of rationality guiding traditional accounts of belief change is the principle of minimal change: a reasoner's belief corpus should be modified in a minimal fashion when assimilating new information. This rationality principle has stood belief change in good stead. However, it does not deal properly with all belief change scenarios. We introduce a novel account of belief change motivated by one of Grice's maxims of conversational implicature: the reasoner's belief corpus is modified in a minimal fashion to assimilate exactly the new information. In this form of belief change, when the reasoner revises by new information p ∨ q their belief corpus is modified so that p∨q is believed but stronger propositions like p∧q are not, no matter what beliefs are in the reasoner's initial corpus. We term this conservative belief change since the revised belief corpus is a conservative extension of the original belief corpus given the new information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-113
Number of pages17
JournalStudia Logica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005


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