Limitation of analogy in the Sleeping Beauty debate: the case of Singer’s argument

Synthese 198 (11):10513-10528 (2020)

Abstract

Ever since Elga presented his famous puzzle of Sleeping Beauty, philosophers have debated between the Thirder and the Halfer positions. In his recent article, Daniel Singer proposes a new position, according to which Beauty ought to assign [0, 1/2] to the coin’s landing heads. For this argument, he exploits the similarity between Elga’s original puzzle and Bovens’s modified one. According to Singer, Beauty ought to assign the same credence to H in both versions of Sleeping Beauty. Since Beauty ought to assign [0, 1/2] to H in Bovens’s version, she ought to assign [0, 1/2] to H in Elga’s original version, too. Let us call this “the Impreciser view.” In this paper, I will contend that Singer’s argument fails. First, he depends on false assumptions in defending his Impreciser view. Second, Bovens’s version of Sleeping Beauty turns out to be underdescribed in an important aspect. If we try to provide a fuller description for it, either Beauty does not have to assign [0, 1/2] to H or the thus complemented version of Bovens’s puzzle will fail to be analogous with Elga’s original one. In either case, Singer’s discussion does not establish his Impreciser view.

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Namjoong Kim
Gyeongsang National University

References found in this work

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Attitudes de Dicto and de Se.David Lewis - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (4):513-543.
A Subjectivist’s Guide to Objective Chance.David K. Lewis - 1980 - In Richard C. Jeffrey (ed.), Studies in Inductive Logic and Probability, Volume II. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 263-293.
Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 182 (3):327-329.

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