David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (2):273-288 (2002)
Jonathan Cohen has claimed that in cases of witness agreement there is an inverse relationship between the prior probability and the posterior probability of what is being agreed: the posterior rises as the prior falls. As is demonstrated in this paper, this contention is not generally valid. In fact, in the most straightforward case exactly the opposite is true: a lower prior also means a lower posterior. This notwithstanding, there is a grain of truth to what Cohen is saying, as there are special circumstances under which a thesis similar to his holds good. What characterises these circumstances is that they allow for the fact of agreement to be surprising. In making this precise, I draw on Paul Horwich's probabilistic analysis of surprise. I also consider a related claim made by Cohen concerning the effect of lowering the prior on the strength of corroboration. 1 Introduction 2 Cohen's claim 3 A counterexample 4 A weaker claim 5 A counterexample to the weaker claim 6 The grain of truth in Cohen's claim 7 Prior probability and strength of corroboration 8 Conclusion.
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Citations of this work BETA
Stefan Schubert (2012). Coherence Reasoning and Reliability: A Defense of the Shogenji Measure. Synthese 187 (2):305-319.
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Erik J. Olsson & Stefan Schubert (2007). Reliability Conducive Measures of Coherence. Synthese 157 (3):297 - 308.
Stefan Schubert & Erik J. Olsson (2012). On the Coherence of Higher-Order Beliefs. Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):112-135.
Paul Thagard (2005). Testimony, Credibility, and Explanatory Coherence. Erkenntnis 63 (3):295 - 316.
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