Lewis’ Triviality for Quasi Probabilities

Journal of Logic, Language and Information 28 (4):515-549 (2019)
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According to Stalnaker’s Thesis, the probability of a conditional is the conditional probability. Under some mild conditions, the thesis trivialises probabilities and conditionals, as initially shown by David Lewis. This article asks the following question: does still lead to triviality, if the probability function in is replaced by a probability-like function? The article considers plausibility functions, in the sense of Friedman and Halpern, which additionally mimic probabilistic additivity and conditionalisation. These quasi probabilities comprise Friedman–Halpern’s conditional plausibility spaces, as well as other known representations of conditional doxastic states. The paper proves Lewis’ triviality for quasi probabilities and discusses how this has implications for three other prominent strategies to avoid Lewis’ triviality: Adams’ thesis, where the probability function on the left in is replaced by a probability-like function, abandoning conditionalisation, where probability conditionalisation on the right in is replaced by another propositional update procedure and the approximation thesis, where equality in is replaced by approximation. The paper also shows that Lewis’ triviality result is really about ‘additiveness’ and ‘conditionality’.



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Raidl Eric
University Tübingen

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Context.Robert Stalnaker - 2014 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Truth and probability.Frank Ramsey - 1926 - In Antony Eagle (ed.), Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 52-94.
A Mathematical Theory of Evidence.Glenn Shafer - 1976 - Princeton University Press.

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