Basing for the Bayesian

Synthese (forthcoming)

Authors
Cameron Gibbs
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Abstract
There is a distinction between merely having the right belief, and further basing that belief on the right reasons. Any adequate epistemology needs to be able to accommodate the basing relation that marks this distinction. However, trouble arises for Bayesianism. I argue that when we combine Bayesianism with the standard approaches to the basing relation, we get the result that no agent forms their credences in the right way; indeed, no agent even gets close. This is a serious problem, for it prevents us from making epistemic distinctions between agents that are doing a reasonably good job at forming their credences and those that are forming them in clearly bad ways. I argue that if this result holds, then we have a problem for Bayesianism. However, I show how the Bayesian can avoid this problem by rejecting the standard approaches to the basing relation. By drawing on recent work on the basing relation, we can develop an account of the relation that allows us to avoid the result that no agent comes close to forming their credences in the right way. The Bayesian can successfully accommodate the basing relation.
Keywords Basing Relation  Bayesian Epistemology  Propositional Justification  Doxastic Justification
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