Christopher Meacham University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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  1. Christopher J. G. Meacham (forthcoming). Autonomous Chances and the Conflicts Problem. In Toby Handfield & Alastair Wilson (eds.), Asymmetries in Chance and Time. Oxford University Press.
    In recent work, Callender and Cohen (2009) and Hoefer (2007) have proposed variants of the account of chance proposed by Lewis (1994). One of the ways in which these accounts diverge from Lewis’s is that they allow special sciences and the macroscopic realm to have chances that are autonomous from those of physics and the microscopic realm. A worry for these proposals is that autonomous chances may place incompatible constraints on rational belief. I examine this worry, and attempt to determine (...)
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  2. Christopher J. G. Meacham (2013). Impermissive Bayesianism. Erkenntnis:1-33.
    This paper examines the debate between permissive and impermissive forms of Bayesianism. It briefly discusses some considerations that might be offered by both sides of the debate, and then replies to some new arguments in favor of impermissivism offered by Roger White. First, it argues that White’s (Oxford studies in epistemology, vol 3. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 161–186, 2010) defense of Indifference Principles is unsuccessful. Second, it contends that White’s (Philos Perspect 19:445–459, 2005) arguments against permissive views do not (...)
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  3. Christopher J. G. Meacham (2012). Person-Affecting Views and Saturating Counterpart Relations. Philosophical Studies 158 (2):257-287.
    In Reasons and Persons, Parfit (1984) posed a challenge: provide a satisfying normative account that solves the Non-Identity Problem, avoids the Repugnant and Absurd Conclusions, and solves the Mere-Addition Paradox. In response, some have suggested that we look toward person-affecting views of morality for a solution. But the person-affecting views that have been offered so far have been unable to satisfy Parfit's four requirements, and these views have been subject to a number of independent complaints. This paper describes a person-affecting (...)
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  4. Christopher J. G. Meacham & Jonathan Weisberg (2011). Representation Theorems and the Foundations of Decision Theory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):641 - 663.
    Representation theorems are often taken to provide the foundations for decision theory. First, they are taken to characterize degrees of belief and utilities. Second, they are taken to justify two fundamental rules of rationality: that we should have probabilistic degrees of belief and that we should act as expected utility maximizers. We argue that representation theorems cannot serve either of these foundational purposes, and that recent attempts to defend the foundational importance of representation theorems are unsuccessful. As a result, we (...)
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  5. Christopher J. G. Meacham (2010). Binding and its Consequences. Philosophical Studies 149 (1):49-71.
    In “Bayesianism, Infinite Decisions, and Binding”, Arntzenius et al. (Mind 113:251–283, 2004 ) present cases in which agents who cannot bind themselves are driven by standard decision theory to choose sequences of actions with disastrous consequences. They defend standard decision theory by arguing that if a decision rule leads agents to disaster only when they cannot bind themselves, this should not be taken to be a mark against the decision rule. I show that this claim has surprising implications for a (...)
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  6. Christopher J. G. Meacham (2010). Contemporary Approaches to Statistical Mechanical Probabilities: A Critical Commentary - Part I: The Indifference Approach. Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1116-1126.
    This pair of articles provides a critical commentary on contemporary approaches to statistical mechanical probabilities. These articles focus on the two ways of understanding these probabilities that have received the most attention in the recent literature: the epistemic indifference approach, and the Lewis-style regularity approach. These articles describe these approaches, highlight the main points of contention, and make some attempts to advance the discussion. The first of these articles provides a brief sketch of statistical mechanics, and discusses the indifference approach (...)
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  7. Christopher J. G. Meacham (2010). Contemporary Approaches to Statistical Mechanical Probabilities: A Critical Commentary - Part II: The Regularity Approach. Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1127-1136.
    This pair of articles provides a critical commentary on contemporary approaches to statistical mechanical probabilities. These articles focus on the two ways of understanding these probabilities that have received the most attention in the recent literature: the epistemic indifference approach, and the Lewis-style regularity approach. These articles describe these approaches, highlight the main points of contention, and make some attempts to advance the discussion. The second of these articles discusses the regularity approach to statistical mechanical probabilities, and describes some areas (...)
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  8. Christopher J. G. Meacham (2010). Two Mistakes Regarding the Principal Principle. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (2):407-431.
    This paper examines two mistakes regarding David Lewis’ Principal Principle that have appeared in the recent literature. These particular mistakes are worth looking at for several reasons: The thoughts that lead to these mistakes are natural ones, the principles that result from these mistakes are untenable, and these mistakes have led to significant misconceptions regarding the role of admissibility and time. After correcting these mistakes, the paper discusses the correct roles of time and admissibility. With these results in hand, the (...)
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  9. Christopher J. G. Meacham (2010). Unravelling the Tangled Web: Continuity, Internalism, Non-Uniqueness and Self-Locating Beliefs. In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology, Volume 3. Oxford University Press. 86.
    A number of cases involving self-locating beliefs have been discussed in the Bayesian literature. I suggest that many of these cases, such as the sleeping beauty case, are entangled with issues that are independent of self-locating beliefs per se. In light of this, I propose a division of labor: we should address each of these issues separately before we try to provide a comprehensive account of belief updating. By way of example, I sketch some ways of extending Bayesianism in order (...)
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  10. Christopher J. G. Meacham (2008). Sleeping Beauty and the Dynamics of de Se Beliefs. Philosophical Studies 138 (2):245-269.
    This paper examines three accounts of the sleeping beauty case: an account proposed by Adam Elga, an account proposed by David Lewis, and a third account defended in this paper. It provides two reasons for preferring the third account. First, this account does a good job of capturing the temporal continuity of our beliefs, while the accounts favored by Elga and Lewis do not. Second, Elga’s and Lewis’ treatments of the sleeping beauty case lead to highly counterintuitive consequences. The proposed (...)
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  11. Christopher J. G. Meacham (2005). Three Proposals Regarding a Theory of Chance. Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):281–307.
    I argue that the theory of chance proposed by David Lewis has three problems: (i) it is time asymmetric in a manner incompatible with some of the chance theories of physics, (ii) it is incompatible with statistical mechanical chances, and (iii) the content of Lewis's Principal Principle depends on how admissibility is cashed out, but there is no agreement as to what admissible evidence should be. I proposes two modifications of Lewis's theory which resolve these difficulties. I conclude by tentatively (...)
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  12. Christopher J. G. Meacham & Jonathan Weisberg (2003). Clark and Shackel on the Two-Envelope Paradox. Mind 112 (448):685-689.
    Clark and Shackel have recently argued that previous attempts to resolve the two-envelope paradox fail, and that we must look to symmetries of the relevant expected-value calculations for a solution. Clark and Shackel also argue for a novel solution to the peeking case, a variant of the two-envelope scenario in which you are allowed to look in your envelope before deciding whether or not to swap. Whatever the merits of these solutions, they go beyond accepted decision theory, even contradicting it (...)
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