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Profile: Rachael Briggs (Australian National University)
  1. Rachael Briggs (2012). Interventionist Counterfactuals. Philosophical Studies 160 (1):139-166.
    A number of recent authors (Galles and Pearl, Found Sci 3 (1):151–182, 1998; Hiddleston, Noûs 39 (4):232–257, 2005; Halpern, J Artif Intell Res 12:317–337, 2000) advocate a causal modeling semantics for counterfactuals. But the precise logical significance of the causal modeling semantics remains murky. Particularly important, yet particularly under-explored, is its relationship to the similarity-based semantics for counterfactuals developed by Lewis (Counterfactuals. Harvard University Press, 1973b). The causal modeling semantics is both an account of the truth conditions of counterfactuals, and (...)
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  2. Rachael Briggs (2009). Distorted Reflection. Philosophical Review 118 (1):59-85.
    Diachronic Dutch book arguments seem to support both conditionalization and Bas van Fraassen's Reflection principle. But the Reflection principle is vulnerable to numerous counterexamples. This essay addresses two questions: first, under what circumstances should an agent obey Reflection, and second, should the counterexamples to Reflection make us doubt the Dutch book for conditionalization? In response to the first question, this essay formulates a new "Qualified Reflection" principle, which states that an agent should obey Reflection only if he or she is (...)
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  3. Rachael Briggs & Daniel Nolan (2015). Utility Monsters for the Fission Age. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):392-407.
    One of the standard approaches to the metaphysics of personal identity has some counter-intuitive ethical consequences when combined with maximising consequentialism and a plausible doctrine about aggregation of consequences. This metaphysical doctrine is the so-called ‘multiple occupancy’ approach to puzzles about fission and fusion. It gives rise to a new version of the ‘utility monster’ problem, particularly difficult problems about infinite utility, and a new version of a Parfit-style ‘repugnant conclusion’. While the article focuses on maximising consequentialism for simplicity, the (...)
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    Rachael Briggs (2015). Transformative Experience and Interpersonal Utility Comparisons. Res Philosophica 92 (2):189-216.
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    Rachael Briggs (forthcoming). Foundations of Probability. Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-16.
    The foundations of probability are viewed through the lens of the subjectivist interpretation. This article surveys conditional probability, arguments for probabilism, probability dynamics, and the evidential and subjective interpretations of probability.
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  6. Rachael Briggs (2010). Decision-Theoretic Paradoxes as Voting Paradoxes. Philosophical Review 119 (1):1-30.
    It is a platitude among decision theorists that agents should choose their actions so as to maximize expected value. But exactly how to define expected value is contentious. Evidential decision theory (henceforth EDT), causal decision theory (henceforth CDT), and a theory proposed by Ralph Wedgwood that this essay will call benchmark theory (BT) all advise agents to maximize different types of expected value. Consequently, their verdicts sometimes conflict. In certain famous cases of conflict—medical Newcomb problems—CDT and BT seem to get (...)
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  7. Rachael Briggs & Graeme A. Forbes (2012). The Real Truth About the Unreal Future. In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, volume 7.
    Growing-Block theorists hold that past and present things are real, while future things do not yet exist. This generates a puzzle: how can Growing-Block theorists explain the fact that some sentences about the future appear to be true? Briggs and Forbes develop a modal ersatzist framework, on which the concrete actual world is associated with a branching-time structure of ersatz possible worlds. They then show how this branching structure might be used to determine the truth values of future contingents. They (...)
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  8. Rachael Briggs & Mark Jago (2012). Propositions and Same-Saying: Introduction. Synthese 189 (1):1-10.
    Philosophers often talk about the things we say, or believe, or think, or mean. The things are often called ‘propositions’. A proposition is what one believes, or thinks, or means when one believes, thinks, or means something. Talk about propositions is ubiquitous when philosophers turn their gaze to language, meaning and thought. But what are propositions? Is there a single class of things that serve as the objects of belief, the bearers of truth, and the meanings of utterances? How do (...)
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  9. Rachael Briggs (2012). Truthmaking Without Necessitation. Synthese 189 (1):11-28.
    I propose an account truthmaking that provides truthmakers for negative truths. The account replaces Truthmaker Necessitarianism with a "Duplication Principle", according to which a suitable entity T is a truthmaker for a proposition P just in case the existence of an appropriate counterpart of T entails the truth of P, where the counterpart relation is cashed out in terms of qualitative duplication. My account captures an intuitive notion of truthmakers as "things the way they are", validates two appealing principles about (...)
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  10. Rachael Briggs & Daniel Nolan (2012). Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know. Analysis 72 (2):314-316.
    Tracking accounts of knowledge formulated in terms of counterfactuals suffer from well known problems. Examples are provided, and it is shown that moving to a dispositional tracking theory of knowledge avoids three of these problems.
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  11. Rachael Briggs (2009). The Anatomy of the Big Bad Bug. Noûs 43 (3):428-449.
  12. Rachael Briggs (2009). The Big Bad Bug Bites Anti-Realists About Chance. Synthese 167 (1):81--92.
    David Lewis’s ‘Humean Supervenience’ (henceforth ‘HS’) combines realism about laws, chances, and dispositions with a sparse ontology according to which everything supervenes on the overall spatiotemporal distribution of non-dispositional properties (Lewis 1986a, Philosophical papers: Volume II, pp. ix–xvii, New York: Oxford Univesity Press, 1994, Mind 103:473–490). HS faces a serious problem—a “big bad bug” (Lewis 1986a, p. xiv): it contradicts the Principal Principle, a seemingly obvious norm of rational credence. Two authors have tried to rescue Lewis’s ontology from the ‘big (...)
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  13. Rachael Briggs & Daniel Nolan (2012). Epistemic Dispositions. Logos and Episteme 3 (4):629-636.
    We reply to recent papers by John Turri and Ben Bronner, who criticise the dispositionalised Nozickian tracking account we discuss in “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.” We argue that the account we suggested can handle the problems raised by Turri and Bronner. In the course of responding to Turri and Bronner’s objections, we draw three general lessons for theories of epistemic dispositions: that epistemic dispositions are to some extent extrinsic, that epistemic dispositions can have manifestation conditions concerning circumstances where (...)
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    Rachael Briggs (2016). Costs of Abandoning the Sure-Thing Principle. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (5-6):827-840.
    Risk-weighted expected utility theory permits preferences which violate the Sure-Thing Principle. But preferences that violate the STP can lead to bad decisions in sequential choice problems. In particular, they can lead decision-makers to adopt a strategy that is dominated – i.e. a strategy such that some available alternative leads to a better outcome in every possible state of the world.
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  15. Rachael Briggs (2010). The Metaphysics of Chance. Philosophy Compass 5 (11):938-952.
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  16. Rachael Briggs (2010). Putting a Value on Beauty. In Tamar Szabo Gendler and John Hawthorne (Eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology, Volume 3. Oxford University Press:3-34.
     
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    Rachael Briggs (2012). The Normative Standing of Group Agents. Episteme 9 (3):283-291.
    Christian List and Philip Pettit argue that groups of people can be agents – beings that believe, desire and act. Their account combines a non-reductive realist view of group attitudes, on which groups literally have attitudes that cannot be analyzed in terms of the attitudes of their members, with methodological individualism, on which good explanations of group-level phenomena should not posit forces above individual attitudes and behaviors. I then discuss the main normative conclusion that LP draw from the claim that (...)
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    Rachael Briggs (2009). Being For: Evaluating the Semantic Program of Expressivism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (4):690-691.
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  19. Rachael Briggs & Graeme A. Forbes, The Real Truth About the Unreal Future.
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