Ur-Priors, Conditionalization, and Ur-Prior Conditionalization

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3 (2016)
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Abstract

Conditionalization is a widely endorsed rule for updating one’s beliefs. But a sea of complaints have been raised about it, including worries regarding how the rule handles error correction, changing desiderata of theory choice, evidence loss, self-locating beliefs, learning about new theories, and confirmation. In light of such worries, a number of authors have suggested replacing Conditionalization with a different rule — one that appeals to what I’ll call “ur-priors”. But different authors have understood the rule in different ways, and these different understandings solve different problems. In this paper, I aim to map out the terrain regarding these issues. I survey the different problems that might motivate the adoption of such a rule, flesh out the different understandings of the rule that have been proposed, and assess their pros and cons. I conclude by suggesting that one particular batch of proposals, proposals that appeal to what I’ll call “loaded evidential standards”, are especially promising.

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Christopher J. G. Meacham
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Citations of this work

Epistemic Probabilities are Degrees of Support, not Degrees of (Rational) Belief.Nevin Climenhaga - 2024 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 108 (1):153-176.
Bayesian Epistemology.William Talbott - 2006 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Precise Credences.Michael Titelbaum - 2019 - In Richard Pettigrew & Jonathan Weisberg (eds.), The Open Handbook of Formal Epistemology. PhilPaper Foundation. pp. 1-55.

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Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
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Scientific reasoning: the Bayesian approach.Peter Urbach & Colin Howson - 1993 - Chicago: Open Court. Edited by Peter Urbach.
Elusive knowledge.David K. Lewis - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.

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