Accuracy, Risk, and the Principle of Indifference

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (1):35-59 (2016)
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Abstract

In Bayesian epistemology, the problem of the priors is this: How should we set our credences (or degrees of belief) in the absence of evidence? That is, how should we set our prior or initial credences, the credences with which we begin our credal life? David Lewis liked to call an agent at the beginning of her credal journey a superbaby. The problem of the priors asks for the norms that govern these superbabies. The Principle of Indifference gives a very restrictive answer. It demands that such an agent divide her credences equally over all possibilities. That is, according to the Principle of Indifference, only one initial credence function is permissible, namely, the uniform distribution. In this paper, we offer a novel argument for the Principle of Indifference. I call it the Argument from Accuracy.

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Richard Pettigrew
Bristol University

References found in this work

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Risk and Rationality.Lara Buchak - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
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.
A Nonpragmatic Vindication of Probabilism.James M. Joyce - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (4):575-603.

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