David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Philosophical Logic 39 (6):655-678 (2010)
The principle of indifference (hereafter ‘Poi’) says that if one has no more reason to believe A than B (and vice versa ), then one ought not to believe A more than B (nor vice versa ). Many think it’s demonstrably false despite its intuitive plausibility, because of a particular style of thought experiment that generates counterexamples. Roger White ( 2008 ) defends Poi by arguing that its antecedent is false in these thought experiments. Like White I believe Poi, but I find his defense unsatisfactory for two reasons: it appeals to false premises, and it saves Poi only at the expense of something that Poi’s believers likely find just as important. So in this essay I defend Poi by arguing that its antecedent does hold in the relevant thought experiments, and that the further propositions needed to reject Poi are false. I play only defense in this essay; I don’t argue that Poi is true (even though I think it is), but rather that one popular refutation is faulty. In showing this, I also note something that has to my knowledge gone unnoticed: given some innocuous-looking assumptions the denial of Poi is equivalent to a version of epistemic permissivism , and Poi itself is equivalent to a version of epistemic uniqueness
|Keywords||Principle of indifference Belief Evidence Uniqueness Permissivism|
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References found in this work BETA
Roger White (2005). Epistemic Permissiveness. Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):445–459.
Roger White (2009). Evidential Symmetry and Mushy Credence. In T. Szabo Gendler & J. Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Oxford University Press 161-186.
John Maynard Keynes (1921/2004). A Treatise on Probability. Dover Publications.
Roger White (2009). Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Martin Smith (2015). Evidential Incomparability and the Principle of Indifference. Erkenntnis 80 (3):605-616.
Michael G. Titelbaum (2010). Not Enough There There: Evidence, Reasons, and Language Independence. Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):477-528.
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