An Objective Justification of Bayesianism I: Measuring Inaccuracy

Philosophy of Science 77 (2):201-235 (2010)
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Abstract

One of the fundamental problems of epistemology is to say when the evidence in an agent’s possession justifies the beliefs she holds. In this paper and its sequel, we defend the Bayesian solution to this problem by appealing to the following fundamental norm: Accuracy An epistemic agent ought to minimize the inaccuracy of her partial beliefs. In this paper, we make this norm mathematically precise in various ways. We describe three epistemic dilemmas that an agent might face if she attempts to follow Accuracy, and we show that the only inaccuracy measures that do not give rise to such dilemmas are the quadratic inaccuracy measures. In the sequel, we derive the main tenets of Bayesianism from the relevant mathematical versions of Accuracy to which this characterization of the legitimate inaccuracy measures gives rise, but we also show that Jeffrey conditionalization has to be replaced by a different method of update in order for Accuracy to be satisfied.

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Author Profiles

Hannes Leitgeb
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Richard Pettigrew
Bristol University

References found in this work

The Logic of Scientific Discovery.Karl Popper - 1959 - Studia Logica 9:262-265.
Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach.Karl Raimund Popper - 1972 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
A Nonpragmatic Vindication of Probabilism.James M. Joyce - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (4):575-603.
Objective Knowledge.K. R. Popper - 1972 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 4 (2):388-398.

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