The coherence argument against conditionalization

Synthese 115 (2):229-258 (1998)

I re-examine Coherence Arguments (Dutch Book Arguments, No Arbitrage Arguments) for diachronic constraints on Bayesian reasoning. I suggest to replace the usual game–theoretic coherence condition with a new decision–theoretic condition ('Diachronic Sure Thing Principle'). The new condition meets a large part of the standard objections against the Coherence Argument and frees it, in particular, from a commitment to additive utilities. It also facilitates the proof of the Converse Dutch Book Theorem. I first apply the improved Coherence Argument to van Fraassen's (1984) Reflection principle. I then point out the failure of a Coherence Argument that is intended to support Conditionalization as a naive, universal, update rule. I also point out that Reflection is incompatible with the universal use of Conditionalization thus interpreted. The Coherence Argument therefore defeats the naive view on Bayesian learning that it was originally designed to justify.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1005082908147
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