David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Erkenntnis 70 (2):237 - 252 (2009)
This essay answers the “Bayesian Challenge,” which is an argument offered by Bayesians that concludes that belief is not relevant to rational action. Patrick Maher and Mark Kaplan argued that this is so because there is no satisfactory way of making sense of how it would matter. The two ways considered so far, acting as if a belief is true and acting as if a belief has a probability over a threshold, do not work. Contrary to Maher and Kaplan, Keith Frankish argued that there is a way to make sense of how belief matters by introducing a dual process theory of mind in which decisions are made at the conscious level using premising policies . I argue that Bayesian decision theory alone shows that it is sometimes rational to base decisions on beliefs; we do not need a dual process theory of mind to solve the Bayesian Challenge. This point is made clearer when we consider decision levels : acting as if a belief is true is sometimes rational at higher decision levels.
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