Accuracy, Risk, and the Principle of Indifference

Authors
Richard Pettigrew
Bristol University
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.
Keywords Principle of Indifference  Accuracy  Risk aversion  Maximin  Bayesianism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/phpr.12097
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 36,596
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
A Nonpragmatic Vindication of Probabilism.James M. 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.

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Scoring Imprecise Credences: A Mildly Immodest Proposal.Conor Mayo-Wilson & Gregory Wheeler - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (1):55-78.
You’Ve Come a Long Way, Bayesians.Jonathan Weisberg - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (6):817-834.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Should We Respond to Evil with Indifference?Brian Weatherson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (3):613–635.
Ethical Internalism and Moral Indifference.Sharon E. Sytsma - 1995 - Journal of Value Inquiry 29 (2):193-201.
Accuracy, Chance, and the Principal Principle.Richard Pettigrew - 2012 - Philosophical Review 121 (2):241-275.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-03-25

Total downloads
122 ( #51,862 of 2,303,853 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
19 ( #25,214 of 2,303,853 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature