Bayesianism for Non-ideal Agents

Erkenntnis 87 (1):93-115 (2022)
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Orthodox Bayesianism is a highly idealized theory of how we ought to live our epistemic lives. One of the most widely discussed idealizations is that of logical omniscience: the assumption that an agent’s degrees of belief must be probabilistically coherent to be rational. It is widely agreed that this assumption is problematic if we want to reason about bounded rationality, logical learning, or other aspects of non-ideal epistemic agency. Yet, we still lack a satisfying way to avoid logical omniscience within a Bayesian framework. Some proposals merely replace logical omniscience with a different logical idealization; others sacrifice all traits of logical competence on the altar of logical non-omniscience. We think a better strategy is available: by enriching the Bayesian framework with tools that allow us to capture what agents can and cannot infer given their limited cognitive resources, we can avoid logical omniscience while retaining the idea that rational degrees of belief are in an important way constrained by the laws of probability. In this paper, we offer a formal implementation of this strategy, show how the resulting framework solves the problem of logical omniscience, and compare it to orthodox Bayesianism as we know it.

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Author Profiles

Mattias Skipper
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Citations of this work

Logical ignorance and logical learning.Richard Pettigrew - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9991-10020.
Permissivism and the Truth Connection.Michele Palmira - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (2):641-656.
Guidance and mainstream epistemology.Jeremy Fantl - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (7):2191-2210.

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