Synthese:1-25 (forthcoming)

Alexander R. Pruss
Baylor University
It is often loosely said that Ramsey The foundations of mathematics and other logical essays, Routledge and Kegan Paul, Abingdon, pp 156–198, 1931) and de Finetti Studies in subjective probability, Kreiger Publishing, Huntington, 1937) proved that if your credences are inconsistent, then you will be willing to accept a Dutch Book, a wager portfolio that is sure to result in a loss. Of course, their theorems are true, but the claim about acceptance of Dutch Books assumes a particular method of calculating expected utilities given the inconsistent credences. I will argue that there are better ways of calculating expected utilities given a potentially inconsistent credence assignment, and that for a large class of credences—a class that includes many inconsistent examples—these ways are immune to Dutch Books and single-shot domination failures. The crucial move is to replace Finite Additivity with Monotonicity, then \\le P\)) and then calculate expected utilities for positive U via the formula \\, dy\). This shows that Dutch Book arguments for probabilism, the thesis that one’s credences should be consistent, do not establish their conclusion. Finally, I will consider a modified argument based on multi-step domination failure that does better, but nonetheless is not as compelling as the Dutch Book arguments appeared to be.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-020-02786-x
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