Accuracy, Deference, and Chance

Philosophical Review 132 (1):43-87 (2023)
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Abstract

Chance both guides our credences and is an objective feature of the world. How and why we should conform our credences to chance depends on the underlying metaphysical account of what chance is. I use considerations of accuracy (how close your credences come to truth-values) to propose a new way of deferring to chance. The principle I endorse, called the Trust Principle, requires chance to be a good guide to the world, permits modest chances, tells us how to listen to chance even when the chances are modest, and entails but is not entailed by the New Principle. As I show, a rational agent will obey this principle if and only if she expects chance to be at least as accurate as she is on every good way of measuring accuracy. Much of the discussion, and the technical results, extend beyond chance to deference to any kind of expert. Indeed, you will trust someone about a particular question just in case you expect that person to be more accurate than you are about that question.

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Ben Levinstein
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

References found in this work

New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Humean Supervenience Debugged.David Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.
A nonpragmatic vindication of probabilism.James M. Joyce - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (4):575-603.
Belief and the Will.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1984 - Journal of Philosophy 81 (5):235-256.

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