Rationality and indeterminate probabilities

Synthese 187 (1):33-48 (2012)
Abstract
We argue that indeterminate probabilities are not only rationally permissible for a Bayesian agent, but they may even be rationally required . Our first argument begins by assuming a version of interpretivism: your mental state is the set of probability and utility functions that rationalize your behavioral dispositions as well as possible. This set may consist of multiple probability functions. Then according to interpretivism, this makes it the case that your credal state is indeterminate. Our second argument begins with our describing a world that plausibly has indeterminate chances. Rationality requires a certain alignment of your credences with corresponding hypotheses about the chances. Thus, if you hypothesize the chances to be indeterminate, your will inherit their indeterminacy in your corresponding credences. Our third argument is motivated by a dilemma. Epistemic rationality requires you to stay open-minded about contingent matters about which your evidence has not definitively legislated. Practical rationality requires you to be able to act decisively at least sometimes. These requirements can conflict with each other-for thanks to your open-mindedness, some of your options may have undefined expected utility, and if you are choosing among them, decision theory has no advice to give you. Such an option is playing Nover and Hájek’s Pasadena Game , and indeed any option for which there is a positive probability of playing the Pasadena Game. You can serve both masters, epistemic rationality and practical rationality, with an indeterminate credence to the prospect of playing the Pasadena game. You serve epistemic rationality by making your upper probability positive-it ensures that you are open-minded. You serve practical rationality by making your lower probability 0-it provides guidance to your decision-making. No sharp credence could do both.
Keywords Indeterminate probabilities  Bayesianism  Interpretivism  Chance  Principal Principle  Regularity  Rationality  Pasadena game
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,404
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 13 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Alan Hájek (2008). Arguments for–or Against–Probabilism? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (4):793 - 819.
Lara Buchak (2012). Can It Be Rational to Have Faith? In Jacob Chandler & Victoria Harrison (eds.), Probability in the Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press. 225.
Hilary Greaves (2007). On the Everettian Epistemic Problem. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (1):120-152.
Thomas Kelly (2007). Evidence and Normativity: Reply to Leite. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):465–474.
Patrick Maher (1992). Diachronic Rationality. Philosophy of Science 59 (1):120-141.
Julian Fink (2010). Asymmetry, Scope, and Rational Consistency. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 10 (2):109-130.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-10-19

Total downloads

74 ( #19,132 of 1,102,977 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #18,369 of 1,102,977 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.