The infinite epistemic regress problem has no unique solution

Ronald Meester*, Timber Kerkvliet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article we analyze the claim that a probabilistic interpretation of the infinite epistemic regress problem leads to a unique solution, the so called “completion” of the regress. This claim is implicitly based on the assumption that the standard Kolmogorov axioms of probability theory are suitable for describing epistemic probability. This assumption, however, has been challenged in the literature, by various authors. One of the alternatives that have been suggested to replace the Kolmogorov axioms in case of an epistemic interpretation of probability, are belief functions, introduced by Shafer in 1976. We show that when one uses belief functions to describe the infinite epistemic regress problem, it is no longer the case that the solution is unique. We also argue that this complies with common sense.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4973-4983
Number of pages11
Issue number6
Early online date31 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Belief functions
  • Completion
  • Epistemic probability
  • Infinite epistemic regress
  • Non-uniqueness


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