A defense of the principle of indifference

Journal of Philosophical Logic 39 (6):655-678 (2010)
Abstract
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
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: 9,351
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA
    John Norton (2008). Ignorance and Indifference. Philosophy of Science 75 (1):45-68.
    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.
    Citations of this work BETA
    Similar books and articles
    Andrew Haas (2012). The Birth of Language Out of the Spirit of Improvisation. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (3):331-347.
    Dylan Dodd (2013). Roger White's Argument Against Imprecise Credences. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):69-77.
    Brian Weatherson (2003). Are You a Sim? Philosophical Quarterly 53 (212):425–431.
    Brian Weatherson (2005). Should We Respond to Evil with Indifference? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (3):613–635.
    Avrum Stroll & Henry Alexander (1975). 'True' and Truth. Philosophy of Science 42 (4):384-410.
    Justin A. Capes (2010). The W-Defense. Philosophical Studies 150 (1):61-77.
    Kostas Kalimtzis (2007). Philosophical Foundations of Praxis in Poiesis. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 10:31-36.
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2010-11-17

    Total downloads

    40 ( #35,903 of 1,088,374 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    2 ( #42,750 of 1,088,374 )

    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.