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Profile: Michael Titelbaum (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  1. Michael G. Titelbaum, In Defense of Right Reason.
    Starting from the premise that akrasia is irrational, I argue that it is always a rational mistake to have false beliefs about the requirements of rationality. Using that conclusion, I defend logical omniscience requirements, the claim that one can never have all-things-considered misleading evidence about what's rational, and the Right Reasons position concerning peer disagreement.
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  2. Michael G. Titelbaum, Unlearning What You Have Learned.
    Bayesian modeling techniques have proven remarkably successful at representing rational constraints on agents’ degrees of belief. Yet Frank Arntzenius’s “Shangri-La” example shows that these techniques fail for stories involving forgetting. This paper presents a formalized, expanded Bayesian modeling framework that generates intuitive verdicts about agents’ degrees of belief after losing information. The framework’s key result, called Generalized Conditionalization, yields applications like a version of Bas van Fraassen’s Reflection Principle for forgetting. These applications lead to questions about why agents should coordinate (...)
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  3. Michael G. Titelbaum (forthcoming). How to Derive a Narrow-Scope Requirement From Wide-Scope Requirements. Philosophical Studies:1-8.
    I argue that given standard deontic logic, wide-scope rational requirements entail narrow-scope rational requirements. In particular, the widely-embraced Enkratic Principle entails that if a particular combination of attitudes is rationally forbidden, it is also rationally forbidden to believe that that combination of attitudes is required.
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  4. Michael G. Titelbaum (forthcoming). Self-Locating Credences. In Alan Hajek Christopher Hitchcock (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    A plea: If you're going to propose a Bayesian framework for updating self-locating degrees of belief, please read this piece first. I've tried to survey all the extant formalisms, group them by their general approach, then describe challenges faced by every formalism employing a given approach. Hopefully this survey will prevent further instances of authors' re-inventing updating rules already proposed elsewhere in the literature.
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  5. Michael G. Titelbaum (2013). Quitting Certainties: A Bayesian Framework Modeling Degrees of Belief. Oxford University Press.
    Michael G. Titelbaum presents a new Bayesian framework for modeling rational degrees of belief—the first of its kind to represent rational requirements on agents who undergo certainty loss.
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  6. Michael G. Titelbaum (2013). Ten Reasons to Care About the Sleeping Beauty Problem. Philosophy Compass 8 (11):1003-1017.
    The Sleeping Beauty Problem attracts so much attention because it connects to a wide variety of unresolved issues in formal epistemology, decision theory, and the philosophy of science. The problem raises unanswered questions concerning relative frequencies, objective chances, the relation between self-locating and non-self-locating information, the relation between self-location and updating, Dutch Books, accuracy arguments, memory loss, indifference principles, the existence of multiple universes, and many-worlds interpretations of quantum mechanics. After stating the problem, this article surveys its connections to all (...)
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  7. Michael G. Titelbaum (2012). An Embarrassment for Double-Halfers. Thought 1 (2):146-151.
    “Double-halfers” think that throughout the Sleeping Beauty Problem, Beauty should keep her credence that a fair coin flip came up heads equal to 1/2. I introduce a new wrinkle to the problem that shows even double-halfers can't keep Beauty's credences equal to the objective chances for all coin-flip propositions. This leaves no way to deny that self-locating information generates an unexpected kind of inadmissible evidence.
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  8. Michael G. Titelbaum (2010). Not Enough There There: Evidence, Reasons, and Language Independence. Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):477-528.
    Begins by explaining then proving a generalized language dependence result similar to Goodman's "grue" problem. I then use this result to cast doubt on the existence of an objective evidential favoring relation (such as "the evidence confirms one hypothesis over another," "the evidence provides more reason to believe one hypothesis over the other," "the evidence justifies one hypothesis over the other," etc.). Once we understand what language dependence tells us about evidential favoring, our options are an implausibly strong conception of (...)
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  9. Michael G. Titelbaum (2010). Tell Me You Love Me: Bootstrapping, Externalism, and No-Lose Epistemology. Philosophical Studies 149 (1):119–134.
    Recent discussion of Vogel-style “bootstrapping” scenarios suggests that they provide counterexamples to a wide variety of epistemological theories. Yet it remains unclear why it’s bad for a theory to permit bootstrapping, or even exactly what counts as a bootstrapping case. Going back to Vogel's original bootstrapping example, I note that an agent who could gain justification through the method Vogel describes would have available a “no-lose investigation”: an investigation that can justify a proposition but has no possibility of undermining it. (...)
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  10. Michael G. Titelbaum (2008). Review: David Christensen: Putting Logic in Its Place: Formal Constraints on Rational Belief. [REVIEW] Mind 117 (467):677-681.
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  11. Michael G. Titelbaum (2008). The Relevance of Self-Locating Beliefs. Philosophical Review 117 (4):555-606.
    Can self-locating beliefs be relevant to non-self-locating claims? Traditional Bayesian modeling techniques have trouble answering this question because their updating rule fails when applied to situations involving contextsensitivity. This essay develops a fully general framework for modeling stories involving context-sensitive claims. The key innovations are a revised conditionalization rule and a principle relating models of the same story with different modeling languages. The essay then applies the modeling framework to the Sleeping Beauty Problem, showing that when Beauty awakens her degree (...)
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  12. Michael G. Titelbaum (2008). What Would a Rawlsian Ethos of Justice Look Like? Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (3):289-322.
    A response to G.A. Cohen's argument that a prevailing "ethos" of justice would prevent a Rawlsian just society from having any income inequalities. I suggest that Cohen's argument fails because a Rawlsian ethos would involve correlates of both of Rawls' principles of justice.
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