On having no reason: dogmatism and Bayesian confirmation

Synthese 177 (1):1 - 17 (2010)
Abstract
Recently in epistemology a number of authors have mounted Bayesian objections to dogmatism. These objections depend on a Bayesian principle of evidential confirmation: Evidence E confirms hypothesis H just in case Pr(H|E) > Pr(H). I argue using Keynes' and Knight's distinction between risk and uncertainty that the Bayesian principle fails to accommodate the intuitive notion of having no reason to believe. Consider as an example an unfamiliar card game: at first, since you're unfamiliar with the game, you assign credences based on the indifference principle. Later you learn how the game works and discover that the odds dictate you assign the very same credences. Examples like this show that if you initially have no reason to believe H, then intuitively E can give you reason to believe H even though Pr(H|E) ≤ Pr(H). I show that without the principle, the objections to dogmatism fail
Keywords Epistemology  Bayesianism  Confirmation  Evidence  Foundationalism  Dogmatism
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References found in this work BETA
Tyler Burge (2003). Perceptual Entitlement. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):503-48.
Paul Castell (1998). A Consistent Restriction of the Principle of Indifference. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (3):387-395.
Roderick M. Chisholm (1966). Theory of Knowledge. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,Prentice-Hall.

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