Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):139-151 (2005)

Alan Hajek
Australian National University
The Dutch Book argument, like Route 66, is about to turn 80. It is arguably the most celebrated argument for subjective Bayesianism. Start by rejecting the Cartesian idea that doxastic attitudes are ‘all-or-nothing’; rather, they are far more nuanced degrees of belief, for short credences, susceptible to fine-grained numerical measurement. Add a coherentist assumption that the rationality of a doxastic state consists in its internal consistency. The remaining problem is to determine what consistency of credences amounts to. The Dutch Book argument, in a nutshell, says that if your credences do not obey the probability calculus, you are ‘incoherent’—susceptible to sure losses at the hands of a ‘Dutch Bookie’—and thus irrational. Conclusion: rationality requires your credences to obey the probability calculus. And like Route 66, the fortunes of the Dutch Book argument have been mixed. Opinions on the argument are sharply divided. The list of its proponents is quite a ‘who’s who’ of philosophers of probability; they include de Finetti (1937, 1980), Carnap (1950, 1962, and more fully, 1955), Kemeny (1955), Lehman (1955), Shimony (1955), Adams (1962), Mellor (1971), Rosenkrantz (1981), van Fraassen (1989), Jeffrey (1983, 1992)
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1520-8583.2005.00057.x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,814
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Logical Foundations of Probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago]University of Chicago Press.
The Logic of Decision.Richard C. Jeffrey - 1965 - University of Chicago Press.
Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford University Press.

View all 52 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Regularity and Hyperreal Credences.Kenny Easwaran - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (1):1-41.
How Does Coherence Matter?Niko Kolodny - 2007 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt3):229 - 263.
Arguments For—Or Against—Probabilism?Alan Hájek - 2009 - In Franz Huber & Christoph Schmidt-Petri (eds.), British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 229--251.
Arguments for–or Against–Probabilism&Quest;: Articles.Alan Hájek - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (4):793-819.

View all 30 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Dutch Books and Agent Rationality.Daniel Silber - 1999 - Theory and Decision 47 (3):247-266.
Scotching the Dutch Book Argument.Peter Milne - 1990 - Erkenntnis 32 (1):105--26.
Distorted Reflection.Rachael Briggs - 2009 - Philosophical Review 118 (1):59-85.
Generalized Probabilism: Dutch Books and Accuracy Domi- Nation.J. Robert G. Williams - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (5):811-840.
Dutch Books, Additivity, and Utility Theory.Brad Armendt - 1993 - Philosophical Topics 21 (1):1-20.
Conditional Probability and Dutch Books.Frank Doring - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (3):391 - 409.


Added to PP index

Total views
181 ( #54,399 of 2,425,825 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #150,558 of 2,425,825 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes