What are degrees of belief?

Studia Logica 86 (2):185-215 (2007)
Abstract
Probabilism is committed to two theses: 1) Opinion comes in degrees—call them degrees of belief, or credences. 2) The degrees of belief of a rational agent obey the probability calculus. Correspondingly, a natural way to argue for probabilism is: i) to give an account of what degrees of belief are, and then ii) to show that those things should be probabilities, on pain of irrationality. Most of the action in the literature concerns stage ii). Assuming that stage i) has been adequately discharged, various authors move on to stage ii) with varied and ingenious arguments. But an unsatisfactory response at stage i) clearly undermines any gains that might be accrued at stage ii) as far as probabilism is concerned: if those things are not degrees of belief, then it is irrelevant to probabilism whether they should be probabilities or not. In this paper we scrutinize the state of play regarding stage i). We critically examine several of the leading accounts of degrees of belief: reducing them to corresponding betting behavior (de Finetti); measuring them by that behavior (Jeffrey); and analyzing them in terms of preferences and their role in decision-making more generally (Ramsey, Lewis, Maher). We argue that the accounts fail, and so they are unfit to subserve arguments for probabilism. We conclude more positively: ‘degree of belief’ should be taken as a primitive concept that forms the basis of our best theory of rational belief and decision: probabilism
Keywords Philosophy   Computational Linguistics   Mathematical Logic and Foundations   Logic
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11225-007-9059-4
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,165
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge University Press.
Truth and Probability.F. P. Ramsey - 2010 - In Antony Eagle (ed.), Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 52-94.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Beliefs Do Not Come in Degrees.Andrew Moon - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-19.
The Composite Nature of Epistemic Justification.Paul Silva Jr - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1).

View all 23 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Degree of Belief is Expected Truth Value.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2009 - In Sebastiano Moruzzi & Richard Dietz (eds.), Cuts and Clouds. Vaguenesss, its Nature and its Logic. Oxford University Press. pp. 491--506.
The Lockean Thesis and the Logic of Belief.James Hawthorne - 2009 - In Franz Huber & Christoph Schmidt-Petri (eds.), Degrees of Belief. Synthese Library: Springer. pp. 49--74.
Stake-Invariant Belief.Brad Armendt - 2008 - Acta Analytica 23 (1):29-43.
Rational Agnosticism and Degrees of Belief.Jane Friedman - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 4:57.
Belief and Degrees of Belief.Franz Huber - 2009 - In F. Huber & C. Schmidt-Petri (eds.), Degrees of Belief. Springer.
Diachronic Coherence and Radical Probabilism.Brian Skyrms - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):959-968.
Regularity and Hyperreal Credences.Kenny Easwaran - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (1):1-41.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

306 ( #9,943 of 2,171,986 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #28,624 of 2,171,986 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums