Disagreement and Epistemic Utility-Based Compromise

Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (3):273-286 (2015)
Julia Staffel
University of Colorado, Boulder
Epistemic utility theory seeks to establish epistemic norms by combining principles from decision theory and social choice theory with ways of determining the epistemic utility of agents’ attitudes. Recently, Moss, 1053–69, 2011) has applied this strategy to the problem of finding epistemic compromises between disagreeing agents. She shows that the norm “form compromises by maximizing average expected epistemic utility”, when applied to agents who share the same proper epistemic utility function, yields the result that agents must form compromises by splitting the difference between their credence functions. However, this “split the difference” norm is in conflict with conditionalization, since applications of the two norms don’t commute. A common response in the literature seems to be to abandon the procedure of splitting the difference in favor of compromise strategies that avoid non-commutativity. This would also entail abandoning Moss’ norm. I explore whether a different response is feasible. If agents can use epistemic utility-based considerations to agree on an order in which they will apply the two norms, they might be able to avoid diachronic incoherence. I show that this response can’t save Moss’ norm, because the agreements concerning the order of compromising and updating it generates are not stable over time, and hence cannot avoid diachronic incoherence. I also show that a variant of Moss’ norm, which requires that the weights given to each agent’s epistemic utility change in a way that ensures commutativity, cannot be justified on epistemological grounds
Keywords Epistemic utility  Judgment aggregation  Disagreement  Conditionalization  Linear averaging  Scoring rule
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Reprint years 2015
DOI 10.1007/s10992-014-9318-6
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References found in this work BETA

Scoring Rules and Epistemic Compromise.Sarah Moss - 2011 - Mind 120 (480):1053-1069.
Epistemic Utility and Norms for Credences.Richard Pettigrew - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (10):897-908.
Disagreement, Equal Weight and Commutativity.Alastair Wilson - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (3):321 - 326.

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Citations of this work BETA

Graded Incoherence for Accuracy-Firsters.Glauber De Bona & Julia Staffel - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):189-213.
No One Can Serve Two Epistemic Masters.J. Gallow - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2389-2398.

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