Accuracy and the Credence-Belief Connection

Philosophers' Imprint 15:1-20 (2015)

Authors
Richard Pettigrew
Bristol University
Abstract
Probabilism says an agent is rational only if her credences are probabilistic. This paper is concerned with the so-called Accuracy Dominance Argument for Probabilism. This argument begins with the claim that the sole fundamental source of epistemic value for a credence is its accuracy. It then shows that, however we measure accuracy, any non-probabilistic credences are accuracy-dominated: that is, there are alternative credences that are guaranteed to be more accurate than them. It follows that non-probabilistic credences are irrational. In this paper, I identify and explore a lacuna in this argument. I grant that, if the only doxastic attitudes are credal attitudes, the argument succeeds. But many philosophers say that, alongside credences, there are other doxastic attitudes, such as full beliefs. What's more, those philosophers typically claim, these other doxastic attitudes are closely connected to credences, either as a matter of necessity or normatively. Now, since full beliefs are also doxastic attitudes, it seems that, like credences, the sole source of epistemic value for them is their accuracy. Thus, if we wish to measure the epistemic value of an agent's total doxastic state, we must include not only the accuracy of her credences, but also the accuracy of her full beliefs. However, if this is the case, there is a problem for the Accuracy Dominance Argument for Probabilism. For all the argument says, there might be non-probabilistic credences such that there is no total doxastic state that accuracy-dominates the total doxastic state to which those credences belong.
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References found in this work BETA

The Stability Theory of Belief.Hannes Leitgeb - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (2):131-171.
A Nonpragmatic Vindication of Probabilism.James Joyce - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (4):575-603.
Accuracy and Coherence: Prospects for an Alethic Epistemology of Partial Belief.James Joyce - 2009 - In Franz Huber & Christoph Schmidt-Petri (eds.), Degrees of Belief. Synthese. pp. 263-297.

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Citations of this work BETA

Belief and Credence: Why the Attitude-Type Matters.Elizabeth Grace Jackson - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2477-2496.
Lockeans Maximize Expected Accuracy.Kevin Dorst - 2017 - Mind 128 (509):175-211.
Believing Epistemic Contradictions.Beddor Bob & Simon Goldstein - 2018 - Review of Symbolic Logic (1):87-114.
Accuracy for Believers.Julia Staffel - 2017 - Episteme 14 (1):39-48.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

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