Lockeans Maximize Expected Accuracy

Mind 128 (509):175-211 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The Lockean Thesis says that you must believe p iff you’re sufficiently confident of it. On some versions, the 'must' asserts a metaphysical connection; on others, it asserts a normative one. On some versions, 'sufficiently confident' refers to a fixed threshold of credence; on others, it varies with proposition and context. Claim: the Lockean Thesis follows from epistemic utility theory—the view that rational requirements are constrained by the norm to promote accuracy. Different versions of this theory generate different versions of Lockeanism; moreover, a plausible version of epistemic utility theory meshes with natural language considerations, yielding a new Lockean picture that helps to model and explain the role of beliefs in inquiry and conversation. Your beliefs are your best guesses in response to the epistemic priorities of your context. Upshot: we have a new approach to the epistemology and semantics of belief. And it has teeth. It implies that the role of beliefs is fundamentally different than many have thought, and in fact supports a metaphysical reduction of belief to credence.

Similar books and articles

Who Cares What You Accurately Believe?Clayton Littlejohn - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):217-248.
Contemporary Epistemic Logic and the Lockean Thesis.Lorenz Demey - 2013 - Foundations of Science 18 (4):599-610.
The Decision-Theoretic Lockean Thesis.Dustin Troy Locke - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (1):28-54.
Chancy accuracy and imprecise credence.Jennifer Carr - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):67-81.
Epistemic Risk and the Demands of Rationality.Richard Pettigrew - 2022 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
On the Independence of Belief and Credence.Elizabeth Jackson - 2022 - Philosophical Issues 32 (1):9-31.
Epistemic Akrasia and Belief‐Credence Dualism.Elizabeth Jackson & Peter Tan - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (3):717–727.

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-08-01

Downloads
1,830 (#5,670)

6 months
259 (#11,341)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Kevin Dorst
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Citations of this work

Belief and Credence: Why the Attitude-Type Matters.Elizabeth Grace Jackson - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2477-2496.
Assertion is weak.Matthew Mandelkern & Kevin Dorst - 2022 - Philosophers' Imprint 22.
Thinking, Guessing, and Believing.Ben Holguin - 2022 - Philosophers' Imprint 22 (1):1-34.
Abominable KK Failures.Kevin Dorst - 2019 - Mind 128 (512):1227-1259.

View all 85 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Knowledge and belief.Jaakko Hintikka - 1962 - Ithaca, N.Y.,: Cornell University Press.
Knowledge in an uncertain world.Jeremy Fantl & Matthew McGrath - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Matthew McGrath.
Accuracy and the Laws of Credence.Richard Pettigrew - 2016 - New York, NY.: Oxford University Press UK.
Belief, Credence, and Pragmatic Encroachment.Jacob Ross & Mark Schroeder - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):259-288.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.

View all 88 references / Add more references