Epistemic Decision Theory

Mind 122 (488):915-952 (2013)
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I explore the prospects for modelling epistemic rationality (in the probabilist setting) via an epistemic decision theory, in a consequentialist spirit. Previous work has focused on cases in which the truth-values of the propositions in which the agent is selecting credences do not depend, either causally or merely evidentially, on the agent’s choice of credences. Relaxing that restriction leads to a proliferation of puzzle cases and theories to deal with them, including epistemic analogues of evidential and causal decision theory, and of the Newcomb Problem and ‘Psychopath Button’ Problem. A variant of causal epistemic decision theory deals well with most cases. However, there is a recalcitrant class of problem cases for which no epistemic decision theory seems able to match our intuitive judgements of epistemic rationality. This lends both precision and credence to the view that there is a fundamental mismatch between epistemic consequentialism and the intuitive notion of epistemic rationality; the implications for understanding the latter are briefly discussed.



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Hilary Greaves
Oxford University

Citations of this work

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The Game of Belief.Barry Maguire & Jack Woods - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (2):211-249.
Who Cares What You Accurately Believe?Clayton Littlejohn - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):217-248.
Rational endorsement.Will Fleisher - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2649-2675.
Accuracy, Coherence and Evidence.Branden Fitelson & Kenny Easwaran - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 5:61-96.

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References found in this work

The Logic of Decision.Richard C. Jeffrey - 1965 - New York, NY, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Gambling with truth.Isaac Levi - 1967 - Cambridge,: MIT Press.
Betting on Theories.Patrick Maher - 1993 - Cambridge, New York and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

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