According to the Rational Threshold View, a rational agent believes p if and only if her credence in p is equal to or greater than a certain threshold. One of the most serious challenges for this view is the problem of statistical evidence: statistical evidence is often not sufficient to make an outright belief rational, no matter how probable the target proposition is given such evidence. This indicates that rational belief is not as sensitive to statistical evidence as rational (...)credence. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we argue that, in addition to playing a decisive role in rationalizing outright belief, non-statistical evidence also plays a preponderant role in rationalizing credence. More precisely, when both types of evidence are present in a context, non-statistical evidence should receive a heavier weight than statistical evidence in determining rational credence. Second, based on this result, we argue that a modified version of the Rational Threshold View can avoid the problem of statistical evidence. We conclude by suggesting a possible explanation of the varying sensitivity to different types of evidence for belief and credence based on the respective aims of these attitudes. (shrink)
Whereas Bayesians have proposed norms such as probabilism, which requires immediate and permanent certainty in all logical truths, I propose a framework on which credences, including credences in logical truths, are rational because they are based on reasoning that follows plausible rules for the adoption of credences. I argue that my proposed framework has many virtues. In particular, it resolves the problem of logical omniscience.
There are currently two robust traditions in philosophy dealing with doxastic attitudes: the tradition that is concerned primarily with all-or-nothing belief, and the tradition that is concerned primarily with degree of belief or credence. This paper concerns the relationship between belief and credence for a rational agent, and is directed at those who may have hoped that the notion of belief can either be reduced to credence or eliminated altogether when characterizing the norms governing ideally rational agents. (...) It presents a puzzle which lends support to two theses. First, that there is no formal reduction of a rational agent’s beliefs to her credences, because belief and credence are each responsive to different features of a body of evidence. Second, that if our traditional understanding of our practices of holding each other responsible is correct, then belief has a distinctive role to play, even for ideally rational agents, that cannot be played by credence. The question of which avenues remain for the credence-only theorist is considered. (shrink)
This paper compares two alternative explanations of pragmatic encroachment on knowledge (i.e., the claim that whether an agent knows that p can depend on pragmatic factors). After reviewing the evidence for such pragmatic encroachment, we ask how it is best explained, assuming it obtains. Several authors have recently argued that the best explanation is provided by a particular account of belief, which we call pragmatic credal reductivism. On this view, what it is for an agent to believe a proposition is (...) for her credence in this proposition to be above a certain threshold, a threshold that varies depending on pragmatic factors. We show that while this account of belief can provide an elegant explanation of pragmatic encroachment on knowledge, it is not alone in doing so, for an alternative account of belief, which we call the reasoning disposition account, can do so as well. And the latter account, we argue, is far more plausible than pragmatic credal reductivism, since it accords far better with a number of claims about belief that are very hard to deny. (shrink)
I argue that psychology and epistemology should posit distinct cognitive attitudes of religious credence and factual belief, which have different etiologies and different cognitive and behavioral effects. I support this claim by presenting a range of empirical evidence that religious cognitive attitudes tend to lack properties characteristic of factual belief, just as attitudes like hypothesis, fictional imagining, and assumption for the sake of argument generally lack such properties. Furthermore, religious credences have distinctive properties of their own. To summarize: factual (...) beliefs are practical setting independent, cognitively govern other attitudes, and are evidentially vulnerable. By way of contrast, religious credences have perceived normative orientation, are susceptible to free elaboration, and are vulnerable to special authority. This theory provides a framework for future research in the epistemology and psychology of religious credence. (shrink)
According to evidentialist views, credence in a proposition p should be proportional to the degree of evidential support that one has in favor of p. However, empirical evidence suggests that our credences are systematically sensitive to practical factors. In this article, I provide a cost–benefit analysis of credences' practical sensitivity. The upshot of this analysis is that credences sensitive to practical factors fare better than practically insensitive ones along several dimensions. All things considered, our credences should be sensitive to (...) practical factors. (shrink)
This paper explains and defends a belief-first view of the relationship between belief and credence. On this view, credences are a species of beliefs, and the degree of credence is determined by the content of what is believed. We begin by developing what we take to be the most plausible belief-first view. Then, we offer several arguments for it. Finally, we show how it can resist objections that have been raised to belief-first views. We conclude that the belief-first (...) view is more plausible than many have previously supposed. (shrink)
In this paper, I highlight an interesting difference between belief on the one hand, and suspended judgment and credence on the other hand. This difference is the following: credences and suspended judgments are suitable to serve as transitional as well as terminal attitudes in our reasoning, whereas beliefs are only appropriate as terminal attitudes. The notion of a transitional attitude is not an established one in the literature, but I argue that introducing it helps us better understand the different (...) roles suspended judgments and credences can play in our reasoning. Transitional and terminal attitudes have interestingly different descriptive and normative properties. I also compare my account of transitional attitudes to other inquiry-guiding attitudes that have recently been characterized in the literature and explain why they are different. (shrink)
This is a three-part exchange on the relationship between belief and credence. It begins with an opening essay by Roger Clarke that argues for the claim that the notion of credence generalizes the notion of belief. Julia Staffel argues in her reply that we need to distinguish between mental states and models representing them, and that this helps us explain what it could mean that belief is a special case of credence. Roger Clarke's final essay reflects on (...) the compatibility of the previously discussed views with dualist and monist interpretations of our mental states and our ways of modeling them. (shrink)
ABSTRACTMany discussions of the ‘preface paradox’ assume that it is more troubling for deductive closure constraints on rational belief if outright belief is reducible to credence. I show that this is an error: we can generate the problem without assuming such reducibility. All that we need are some very weak normative assumptions about rational relationships between belief and credence. The only view that escapes my way of formulating the problem for the deductive closure constraint is in fact itself (...) a reductive view: namely, the view that outright belief is credence 1. However, I argue that this view is unsustainable. Moreover, my version of the problem turns on no particular theory of evidence or evidential probability, and so cannot be avoided by adopting some revisionary such theory. In sum, deductive closure is in more serious, and more general, trouble than some have thought. (shrink)
I explore how rational belief and rational credence relate to evidence. I begin by looking at three cases where rational belief and credence seem to respond differently to evidence: cases of naked statistical evidence, lotteries, and hedged assertions. I consider an explanation for these cases, namely, that one ought not form beliefs on the basis of statistical evidence alone, and raise worries for this view. Then, I suggest another view that explains how belief and credence relate to (...) evidence. My view focuses on the possibilities that the evidence makes salient. I argue that this makes better sense of the difference between rational credence and rational belief than other accounts. (shrink)
This paper argues for two theses: that degrees of belief are context sensitive; that outright belief is belief to degree 1. The latter thesis is rejected quickly in most discussions of the relationship between credence and belief, but the former thesis undermines the usual reasons for doing so. Furthermore, identifying belief with credence 1 allows nice solutions to a number of problems for the most widely-held view of the relationship between credence and belief, the threshold view. I (...) provide a sketch of a formal framework on which both theses are true. This is a modified Bayesian framework; I argue that despite making credences context-sensitive, the framework lets Bayesians hold on to their signature explanatory successes. The sort of context-sensitivity claimed for credences here mirrors the sort of context-sensitivity I have elsewhere claimed for outright belief: one's credences depend, in part, on the space of alternative possibilities one takes seriously in a context. (shrink)
In addition to full beliefs, agents have attitudes of varying confidence, or credences. For instance, I do not believe that the Boston Red Sox will win the American League East this year, but I am at least a little bit confident that they will – i.e. I have a positive credence that they will. It is also common to think that agents have conditional credences. For instance, I am very confident – i.e. have a conditional credence of very-likely (...) strength – that the Red Sox will win the AL East this year given that their pitching staff stays healthy. There are good reasons to think that conditional credences are neither credences nor some combination of credences. In this paper, I show that similar reasons support thinking that agents have what we can call quantificational credences – attitudes like, thinking that each AL East team with a healthy pitching staff is at least a little bit likely to win the division – which are neither credences, conditional credences, nor some combination thereof. I provide a framework for assessing the rationality of credal states which involve quantificational credences. And I give a general picture of credal states that explains the similarities and differences between ordinary, conditional, and quantificational credences. (shrink)
Radical moral encroachment is the view that belief itself is morally evaluable, and that some moral properties of belief itself make a difference to epistemic rationality. To date, almost all proponents of radical moral encroachment hold to an asymmetry thesis: the moral encroaches on rational belief, but not on rational credence. In this paper, we argue against the asymmetry thesis; we show that, insofar as one accepts the most prominent arguments for radical moral encroachment on belief, one should likewise (...) accept radical moral encroachment on credence. We outline and reject potential attempts to establish a basis for asymmetry between the attitude types. Then, we explore the merits and demerits of the two available responses to our symmetry claim: (i) embracing moral encroachment on credence and (ii) denying moral encroachment on belief. (shrink)
It is natural to think of precise probabilities as being special cases of imprecise probabilities, the special case being when one’s lower and upper probabilities are equal. I argue, however, that it is better to think of the two models as representing two different aspects of our credences, which are often vague to some degree. I show that by combining the two models into one model, and understanding that model as a model of vague credence, a natural interpretation arises (...) that suggests a hypothesis concerning how we can improve the accuracy of aggregate credences. I present empirical results in support of this hypothesis. I also discuss how this modeling interpretation of imprecise probabilities bears upon a philosophical objection that has been raised against them, the so-called inductive learning problem. (shrink)
After presenting a simple expressivist account of reports of probabilistic judgements, I explore a classic problem for it, namely the Frege-Geach problem. I argue that it is a problem not just for expressivism but for any reasonable account of ascriptions of graded judgements. I suggest that the problem can be resolved by appropriately modelling imprecise credences.
David Lewis' "Principal Principle" is a purported principle of rationality connecting credence and objective chance. Almost all of the discussion of the Principal Principle in the philosophical literature assumes classical probability theory, which is unfortunate since the theory of modern physics that, arguably, speaks most clearly of objective chance is the quantum theory, and quantum probabilities are not classical probabilities. This paper develops an account of how chance works in quantum theory that reveals a connection between credence and (...) quantum chance quite unlike what is envisioned in the philosophical literature: as a theorem of quantum probability, updating a completely additive chance function on a knowledge of chance brings credence into line with chance. The account also suggests a way of construing the Humean supervenience of chance that has the virtue of dissolving some puzzles about the "undermining" of chances. A number of interpretative moves in quantum theory are needed to generate the account of quantum chance on offer here, and they can all be disputed. But engaging in these disputes is part and parcel of naturalized metaphysics, and as such it can be more productive than engaging in the battle of intuitions among analytical metaphysicians about how chance ought to work this and other possible worlds. -/- . (shrink)
A question of recent interest in epistemology and philosophy of mind is how belief and credence relate to each other. A number of philosophers argue for a belief-first view of the relationship between belief and credence. On the belief-first view, what it is to have a credence just is to have a particular kind of belief, that is, a belief whose content involves probabilities or epistemic modals. Here, I argue against the belief-first view: specifically, I argue that (...) it cannot account for agents who have credences in propositions they barely comprehend. I conclude that, however credences differ from beliefs, they do not differ in virtue of adding additional content to the believed proposition. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that faith’s going beyond the evidence need not compromise faith’s epistemic rationality. First, I explain how some of the recent literature on belief and credence points to a distinction between what I call B-evidence and C-evidence. Then, I apply this distinction to rational faith. I argue that if faith is more sensitive to B-evidence than to C-evidence, faith can go beyond the evidence and still be epistemically rational.
Many recent theories of epistemic discourse exploit an informational notion of consequence, i.e. a notion that defines entailment as preservation of support by an information state. This paper investigates how informational consequence fits with probabilistic reasoning. I raise two problems. First, all informational inferences that are not also classical inferences are, intuitively, probabilistically invalid. Second, all these inferences can be exploited, in a systematic way, to generate triviality results. The informational theorist is left with two options, both of them radical: (...) they can either deny that epistemic modal claims have probability at all, or they can move to a nonstandard probability theory. (shrink)
It is often claimed that credences are not reducible to ordinary beliefs about probabilities. Such a reduction appears to be decisively ruled out by certain sorts of triviality results–analogous to those often discussed in the literature on conditionals. I show why these results do not, in fact, rule out the view. They merely give us a constraint on what such a reduction could look like. In particular they show that there is no single proposition belief in which suffices for having (...) a particular credence, regardless of one’s evidence. But if we allow such propositions to vary with evidence–as we should–then the results do not rule out a reduction. So, at least on this count, credences might very well just be beliefs about probabilities. (shrink)
We introduce a family of rules for adjusting one's credences in response to learning the credences of others. These rules have a number of desirable features. 1. They yield the posterior credences that would result from updating by standard Bayesian conditionalization on one's peers' reported credences if one's likelihood function takes a particular simple form. 2. In the simplest form, they are symmetric among the agents in the group. 3. They map neatly onto the familiar Condorcet voting results. 4. They (...) preserve shared agreement about independence in a wide range of cases. 5. They commute with conditionalization and with multiple peer updates. Importantly, these rules have a surprising property that we call synergy - peer testimony of credences can provide mutually supporting evidence raising an individual's credence higher than any peer's initial prior report. At first, this may seem to be a strike against them. We argue, however, that synergy is actually a desirable feature and the failure of other updating rules to yield synergy is a strike against them. (shrink)
We address an open problem in the epistemology of artificial intelligence (AI), namely, the justification of the epistemic attitudes we have towards the trustworthiness of AI systems. We start from a key consideration: the trustworthiness of an AI is a time-relative property of the system, with two distinct facets. One is the actual trustworthiness of the AI, and the other is the perceived trustworthiness of the system as assessed by its users while interacting with it. We show that credences, namely, (...) beliefs we hold with a degree of confidence, are the appropriate attitude for capturing the facets of trustworthiness of an AI over time. Then, we introduce a reliabilistic account providing justification to the credence in the trustworthiness of AI, which we derive from Tang’s probabilistic theory of justified credence. Our account stipulates that a credence in the trustworthiness of an AI system is justified if and only if it is caused by an assessment process that tends to result in a high proportion of credences for which the actual and perceived trustworthiness of the AI are calibrated. Our approach informs research on human-AI interactions and trustworthy AI by providing actionable recommendations on how to measure the reliability of the process through which users perceive the trustworthiness of the system and its calibration to the actual levels of trustworthiness of the AI. It also allows investigating the relation between reliability and the appropriate reliance on the system. (shrink)
Credal reductivism is the view that outright belief is reducible to degrees of confidence or ‘credence’. The most popular versions of credal reductivism all have the consequence that if you are near-maximally confident that p in a low-stakes situation, then you outright believe p. This paper addresses a recent objection to this consequence—the Correctness Objection— introduced by Jeremy Fantl and Matthew McGrath and further developed by Jacob Ross and Mark Schroeder. The objection is that near-maximal confidence cannot entail outright (...) belief because when you believe a false proposition, you are wrong or incorrect, whereas you can be highly confident of a false proposition in a low-stakes situation without being incorrect. Both Fantl and McGrath’s and Ross and Schoeder’s versions of the Correctness Objection admit of multiple interpretations. But it is argued that even on the most charitable interpretations the objection fails. (shrink)
There is an important sense in which an agent’s credences are universal: while they reflect an agent’s own judgments, those judgments apply equally to everyone’s bets. This point, while uncontentious, has been overlooked; people automatically assume that credences concern an agent’s own bets, perhaps just because of the name “subjective” that is typically applied to this account of belief. This oversight has had unfortunate consequences for recent epistemology, in particular concerning the Sleeping Beauty case and its myriad variants.
Elga (2010) argues that no plausible decision rule governs action with imprecise credences. I follow Moss (2015a) in claiming that the solution to Elga’s challenge is found in the philosophy of mind, not in devising a special new decision rule. Moss suggests that in decision situations that involve imprecise credences, we must identify with a precise credence, but she says little about identification. By reflecting on the common conception of identification and on what is necessary for Moss’s solution to (...) succeed, I argue that identifying with a precise credence is fundamentally accepting (in the sense of Bratman 1992; Cohen 1989) a proposition about probabilities. The norm on action with imprecise credences is then a special case of the general norm on action and acceptance. I delineate a number of attractive features of this position. (shrink)
When one allows truth to be indeterminate, “fixed point” interpretations can be found even when the language includes sentences such as the liar paradox. In this chapter this kind of account is applied to rational credences, to find non-undermining indeterminate epistemic states even in certain situations which have been discussed as challenges for rationality. In the process of doing this, a deeper understanding of how the supervaluational account of truth works is obtained, especially when one focuses on sets of precisifications.
I defend belief-credence dualism, the view that we have both beliefs and credences and both attitudes are equally fundamental. First, I explain belief, credence, and three views on their relationship. Then, I argue for dualism. I do so first by painting a picture of the mind on which belief and credence are two cognitive tools that we use for different purposes. Finally, I respond to two objections to dualism. I conclude that dualism is a promising view, and (...) one that both epistemologists and philosophers of mind should take seriously. (shrink)
Anti-expertise, or self-defeating belief, leads to incoherent personal credences. Some philosophers think that anti-expertise is irrational but avoidable, others think that some cases of anti-expertise are rational, and still others think that anti-expertise is irrational and unavoidable. Taking as premises some standard assumptions about the Sleeping Beauty Problem, I prove that if Beauty maintains public credences then she is prone to anti-expertise unless she embraces optimism, i.e. denies that she will experience multiple awakenings if tails.
This paper examines religious epistemics in relationship to recent defenses of belief-credence dualism among analytic Christian philosophers, connecting what is most plausible and appealing in this proposal to Wittgenstein’s thought on the nature of religious praxis and affectively-engaged language-use. How close or far is Wittgenstein’s thought about faith to the analytic Christian philosophers’ thesis that “beliefs and credences are two epistemic tools used for different purposes”? While I find B-C dualism appealing for multiple reasons, the paper goes on to (...) raise critical concerns about the manner in which it has been applied to the epistemology of religious belief. I argue that this application is at odds with some of Wittgenstein’s best insights, and that it presents a promising but comparatively unbalanced account of religious epistemics. (shrink)
A plea: If you're going to propose a Bayesian framework for updating self-locating degrees of belief, please read this piece first. I've tried to survey all the extant formalisms, group them by their general approach, then describe challenges faced by every formalism employing a given approach. Hopefully this survey will prevent further instances of authors' re-inventing updating rules already proposed elsewhere in the literature.
All parties to the Sleeping Beauty debate agree that it shows that some cherished principle of rationality has to go. Thirders think that it is Conditionalization and Reflection that must be given up or modified; halfers think that it is the Principal Principle. I offer an analysis of the Sleeping Beauty puzzle that allows us to retain all three principles. In brief, I argue that Sleeping Beauty’s credence in the uncentered proposition that the coin came up heads should be (...) 1/2, but her credence in the centered proposition that the coin came up heads and it is Monday should be 1/3. I trace the source of the earlier mistakes to an unquestioned assumption in the debate, namely that an uncentered proposition is just a special kind of centered proposition. I argue that the falsity of this assumption is the real lesson of the Sleeping Beauty case. (shrink)
This paper argues that several leading theories of subjunctive conditionals are incompatible with ordinary intuitions about what credences we ought to have in subjunctive conditionals. In short, our theory of subjunctives should intuitively display semantic humility, i.e. our semantic theory should deliver the truth conditions of sentences without pronouncing on whether those conditions actually obtain. In addition to describing intuitions about subjunctive conditionals, I argue that we can derive these ordinary intuitions from justified premises, and I answer a possible worry (...) for my derivation by refuting a subjunctive triviality result modeled on (Lewis 1976). I conclude that the debate over the correct theory of subjunctive conditionals requires settling meta-philosophical questions about the relative value of various virtues of first-order theories of subjunctive conditionals. (shrink)
According to an increasingly popular view in epistemology and philosophy of mind, beliefs are sensitive to contextual factors such as practical factors and salient error possibilities. A prominent version of this view, called credal sensitivism, holds that the context-sensitivity of belief is due to the context-sensitivity of degrees of belief or credence. Credal sensitivism comes in two variants: while credence-one sensitivism (COS) holds that maximal confidence (credence one) is necessary for belief, threshold credal sensitivism (TCS) holds that (...) belief consists in having credence above some threshold, where this threshold doesn’t require maximal confidence. In this paper, I argue that COS has difficulties in accounting for three important features about belief: i) the compatibility between believing p and assigning non-zero credence to certain error possibilities that one takes to entail not-p, ii) the fact that outright beliefs can occur in different strengths, and iii) beliefs held by unconscious subjects. I also argue that TCS can easily avoid these problems. Finally, I consider an alleged advantage of COS over TCS in terms of explaining beliefs about lotteries. I argue that lottery cases are rather more problematic for COS than TCS. In conclusion, TCS is the most plausible version of credal sensitivitism. (shrink)
This paper addresses the ongoing debate over the relation between belief and credence. A proposal is made to reverse the currently predominant order of analysis, by taking belief as conceptually basic and credence as the phenomenon to be clarified. In brief, the proposal is to explicate an agent’s credence in a proposition P as the agent’s tendency toward believing P. Platitudinous as this reduction may seem, it runs counter to all of the major positions in the debate, (...) including the Threshold View, the Certainty View as conventionally understood, Dualism, Eliminativism, as well as Credence Primitivism. Section 1 gives an overview on the current state of the debate. Section 2 considers unsuccessful predecessors of the proposed belief-first approach to credence. Section 3 motivates and lays out the basics of a conceptual framework for thinking about doxastic states that characterizes such states in terms of two formally independent dimensions, one pertaining to the agent’s tendency toward believing P, the other to the level of resilience with which the agent manifests that tendency. Against this backdrop, it is argued in Sect. 4 that the present reduction satisfies a set of standard, theoretically neutral criteria of adequacy for theories of credence, at least once they are purged of a quite common conflation of tendency and resilience. Section 5 argues against all of the above competing accounts. (shrink)
Unspecific evidence calls for imprecise credence. My aim is to vindicate this thought. First, I will pin down what it is that makes one's imprecise credences more or less epistemically valuable. Then I will use this account of epistemic value to delineate a class of reasonable epistemic scoring rules for imprecise credences. Finally, I will show that if we plump for one of these scoring rules as our measure of epistemic value or utility, then a popular family of decision (...) rules recommends imprecise credences. In particular, a range of Hurwicz criteria, which generalise the Maximin decision rule, recommend imprecise credences. If correct, the moral is this: an agent who adopts precise credences, rather than imprecise ones, in the face of unspecific and incomplete evidence, goes wrong by gambling with the epistemic utility of her doxastic state in too risky a fashion. Precise credences represent an overly risky epistemic bet, according to the Hurwicz criteria. (shrink)
In previous work I’ve defended an interest-relative theory of belief. This paper continues the defence. It has four aims. -/- 1. To offer a new kind of reason for being unsatis ed with the simple Lockean reduction of belief to credence. 2. To defend the legitimacy of appealing to credences in a theory of belief. 3. To illustrate the importance of theoretical, as well as practical, interests in an interest-relative account of belief. 4. To revise my account to cover (...) propositions that are practically and theoretically irrelevant to the agent. (shrink)
This paper addresses a largely neglected question in ongoing debates over disagreement: what is the relation, if any, between disagreements involving credences and disagreements involving outright beliefs? The first part of the paper offers some desiderata for an adequate account of credal and full disagreement. The second part of the paper argues that both phenomena can be subsumed under a schematic definition which goes as follows: A and B disagree if and only if the accuracy conditions of A's doxastic attitude (...) are such that, if they were fulfilled, this would ipso facto make B's doxastic attitude inaccurate, or vice-versa. (shrink)
Does rationality require imprecise credences? Many hold that it does: imprecise evidence requires correspondingly imprecise credences. I argue that this is false. The imprecise view faces the same arbitrariness worries that were meant to motivate it in the first place. It faces these worries because it incorporates a certain idealization. But doing away with this idealization effectively collapses the imprecise view into a particular kind of precise view. On this alternative, our attitudes should reflect a kind of normative uncertainty: uncertainty (...) about what to believe. This view refutes the claim that precise credences are inappropriately informative or committal. Some argue that indeterminate evidential support requires imprecise credences; but I argue that indeterminate evidential support instead places indeterminate requirements on credences, and is compatible with the claim that rational credences may always be precise. (shrink)
Belief-credence dualism is the view that we have both beliefs and credences and neither attitude is reducible to the other. Pragmatic encroachment is the view that practical stakes can affect the epistemic rationality of states like knowledge or justified belief. In this paper, I argue that dualism offers a unique explanation of pragmatic encroachment cases. First, I explain pragmatic encroachment and what motivates it. Then, I explain dualism and outline a particular argument for dualism. Finally, I show how dualism (...) can explain the intuitions that underlie pragmatic encroachment. My basic proposal is that in high-stakes cases, it is not that one cannot rationally believe that p; instead, one ought not to rely on one's belief that p. One should rather rely on one's credence in p. I conclude that we need not commit ourselves to pragmatic encroachment in order to explain the intuitiveness of the cases that motivate it. (shrink)
Triviality results threaten plausible principles governing our credence in epistemic modal claims. This paper develops a new account of modal credence which avoids triviality. On the resulting theory, probabilities are assigned not to sets of worlds, but rather to sets of information state-world pairs. The theory avoids triviality by giving up the principle that rational credence is closed under conditionalization. A rational agent can become irrational by conditionalizing on new evidence. In place of conditionalization, the paper develops (...) a new account of updating: conditionalization with normalization. (shrink)
In this article, I consider what sorts of chance credence norms can be justified by appeal to the idea that ideal credences should line up with the chances. I argue that the Principal Principle cannot be so justified but that an alternative norm, the Temporal Principle—which maintains that an agent’s credence in a proposition ϕ, conditional on the temporal proposition that says that the chance of ϕ is x, should be x—can be so justified.
the symmetry of our evidential situation. If our confidence is best modeled by a standard probability function this means that we are to distribute our subjective probability or credence sharply and evenly over possibilities among which our evidence does not discriminate. Once thought to be the central principle of probabilistic reasoning by great..
In this paper, I argue that the relationship between belief and credence is a central question in epistemology. This is because the belief-credence relationship has significant implications for a number of current epistemological issues. I focus on five controversies: permissivism, disagreement, pragmatic encroachment, doxastic voluntarism, and the relationship between doxastic attitudes and prudential rationality. I argue that each debate is constrained in particular ways, depending on whether the relevant attitude is belief or credence. This means that epistemologists (...) should pay attention to whether they are framing questions in terms of belief or in terms of credence and the success or failure of a reductionist project in the belief-credence realm has significant implications for epistemology generally. (shrink)
Enjoying great popularity in decision theory, epistemology, and philosophy of science, Bayesianism as understood here is fundamentally concerned with epistemically ideal rationality. It assumes a tight connection between evidential probability and ideally rational credence, and usually interprets evidential probability in terms of such credence. Timothy Williamson challenges Bayesianism by arguing that evidential probabilities cannot be adequately interpreted as the credences of an ideal agent. From this and his assumption that evidential probabilities cannot be interpreted as the actual credences (...) of human agents either, he concludes that no interpretation of evidential probabilities in terms of credence is adequate. I argue to the contrary. My overarching aim is to show on behalf of Bayesians how one can still interpret evidential probabilities in terms of ideally rational credence and how one can maintain a tight connection between evidential probabilities and ideally rational credence even if the former cannot be interpreted in terms of the latter. By achieving this aim I illuminate the limits and prospects of Bayesianism. (shrink)
Belief is a familiar attitude: taking something to be the case or regarding it as true. But we are more confident in some of our beliefs than in others. For this reason, many epistemologists appeal to a second attitude, called credence, similar to a degree of confidence. This raises the question: how do belief and credence relate to each other? On a belief-first view, beliefs are more fundamental and credences are a species of beliefs, e.g. beliefs about probabilities. (...) On a credence-first view, credences are more fundamental and beliefs are a species of credence, e.g. credence above some threshold. In this thesis, I develop and defend a third view that I call belief-credence dualism. On this view, belief and credence are independent, equally fundamental attitudes, and neither reduces to the other. I begin by motivating the project: why should we care about the relationship between belief and credence? I argue it has broad implications for many debates in epistemology and beyond. Then, I defend dualism, arguing that it can explain features of our mental lives that a credence-first view and a belief-first view cannot. I also argue that dualism has attractive, interesting implications when applied to the pragmatic encroachment debate. Finally, I explore implications of dualism, both for the nature of evidence and how faith might go beyond the evidence but nonetheless be epistemically rational. I conclude that the human mind is, in some ways, complex, but we should be happy with this conclusion also long as each mental state we posit has a clear role to play. (shrink)