•  130
    Radical Misinterpretation
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. forthcoming.
    This paper provides an exposition and defence of Lewis' theory of radical interpretation. The first part explains what Lewis' theory was; the second part explains what it wasn't, and in so doing addresses a number of common objections that arise as a result of widespread myths and misunderstandings about how Lewis' theory is supposed to work.
  •  8
    A correction to this paper has been published.
  •  281
    Comparativism and the Measurement of Partial Belief
    Erkenntnis 87 (6): 2843-2870. 2022.
    According to comparativism, degrees of belief are reducible to a system of purely ordinal comparisons of relative confidence. (For example, being more confident that P than that Q, or being equally confident that P and that Q.) In this paper, I raise several general challenges for comparativism, relating to (i) its capacity to illuminate apparently meaningful claims regarding intervals and ratios of strengths of belief, (ii) its capacity to draw enough intuitively meaningful and theoretically re…Read more
  •  128
    If beliefs are a map by which we steer, then, ceteris paribus, we should want a more accurate map. However, the world could be structured so as to punish learning with respect to certain topics—by learning new information, one’s situation could be worse than it otherwise would have been. We investigate whether the world is structured so as to punish learning specifically about moral nihilism. We ask, if an ordinary person had the option to learn the truth about moral nihilism, ought she to take …Read more
  •  174
    This paper begins with a puzzle regarding Lewis' theory of radical interpretation. On the one hand, Lewis convincingly argued that the facts about an agent's sensory evidence and choices will always underdetermine the facts about her beliefs and desires. On the other hand, we have several representation theorems—such as those of (Ramsey 1931) and (Savage 1954)—that are widely taken to show that if an agent's choices satisfy certain constraints, then those choices can suffice to determine her bel…Read more
  •  270
    What Is ‘Real’ in Interpersonal Comparisons of Confidence
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (1): 102-116. 2022.
    ABSTRACT According to comparativism, comparative confidence is more fundamental than absolute confidence. In two recent AJP papers, Stefánsson has argued that comparativism is capable of explaining interpersonal confidence comparisons. In this paper, I will argue that Stefansson’s proposed explanation is inadequate; that we have good reasons to think that comparativism cannot handle interpersonal comparisons; and that the best explanation of interpersonal comparisons requires thinking about conf…Read more
  •  199
    Possible worlds models of belief have difficulties accounting for unawareness, the inability to entertain (and hence believe) certain propositions. Accommodating unawareness is important for adequately modelling epistemic states, and representing the informational content to which agents have in principle access given their explicit beliefs. In this paper, I develop a model of explicit belief, awareness, and informational content, along with an sound and complete axiomatisation. I furthermore de…Read more
  •  231
    ‘Ramseyfying’ Probabilistic Comparativism
    Philosophy of Science 87 (4): 727-754. 2020.
    Comparativism is the view that comparative confidences (e.g., being more confident that P than that Q) are more fundamental than degrees of belief (e.g., believing that P with some strength x). In this paper, I outline the basis for a new, non-probabilistic version of comparativism inspired by a suggestion made by Frank Ramsey in `Probability and Partial Belief'. I show how, and to what extent, `Ramseyan comparativism' might be used to weaken the (unrealistically strong) probabilistic coherence …Read more
  •  622
    Normative Decision Theory
    Analysis 79 (4): 755-772. 2019.
    A review of some major topics of debate in normative decision theory from circa 2007 to 2019. Topics discussed include the ongoing debate between causal and evidential decision theory, decision instability, risk-weighted expected utility theory, decision-making with incomplete preferences, and decision-making with imprecise credences.
  •  61
    Frank Plumpton Ramsey (1903–30) made seminal contributions to philosophy, mathematics and economics. Whilst he was acknowledged as a genius by his contemporaries, some of his most important ideas were not appreciated until decades later; now better appreciated, they continue to bear an influence upon contemporary philosophy. His historic significance was to usher in a new phase of analytic philosophy, which initially built upon the logical atomist doctrines of Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgen…Read more
  •  234
    According to the preference-centric approach to understanding partial belief, the connection between partial beliefs and preferences is key to understanding what partial beliefs are and how they’re measured. As Ramsey put it, the ‘degree of a belief is a causal property of it, which we can express vaguely as the extent to which we are prepared to act on it’ The Foundations of Mathematics and Other Logical Essays, Routledge, Oxon, pp 156–198, 1931). But this idea is not as popular as it once was.…Read more
  •  243
    Impossible worlds and partial belief
    Synthese 196 (8): 3433-3458. 2019.
    One response to the problem of logical omniscience in standard possible worlds models of belief is to extend the space of worlds so as to include impossible worlds. It is natural to think that essentially the same strategy can be applied to probabilistic models of partial belief, for which parallel problems also arise. In this paper, I note a difficulty with the inclusion of impossible worlds into probabilistic models. Under weak assumptions about the space of worlds, most of the propositions wh…Read more
  •  53
    Decision-theoretic representation theorems have been developed and appealed to in the service of two important philosophical projects: in attempts to characterise credences in terms of preferences, and in arguments for probabilism. Theorems developed within the formal framework that Savage developed have played an especially prominent role here. I argue that the use of these ‘Savagean’ theorems create significant difficulties for both projects, but particularly the latter. The origin of the prob…Read more
  •  71
    Frank Ramsey's ‘Truth and Probability’ sketches a proposal for the empirical measurement of credences, along with a corresponding set of axioms for a representation theorem intended to characterize the preference conditions under which this measurement process is applicable. There are several features of Ramsey's formal system which make it attractive and worth developing. However, in specifying his measurement process and his axioms, Ramsey introduces the notion of an ethically neutral proposit…Read more
  •  181
    Epistemic Two-Dimensionalism and Arguments from Epistemic Misclassification
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2): 375-389. 2013.
    According to Epistemic Two-Dimensional Semantics (E2D), expressions have a counterfactual intension and an epistemic intension. Epistemic intensions reflect cognitive significance such that sentences with necessary epistemic intensions are a priori. We defend E2D against an influential line of criticism: arguments from epistemic misclassification. We focus in particular on the arguments of Speaks [2010] and Schroeter [2005]. Such arguments conclude that E2D is mistaken from (i) the claim that E2…Read more
  •  257
    A Representation Theorem for Frequently Irrational Agents
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 46 (5): 467-506. 2017.
    The standard representation theorem for expected utility theory tells us that if a subject’s preferences conform to certain axioms, then she can be represented as maximising her expected utility given a particular set of credences and utilities—and, moreover, that having those credences and utilities is the only way that she could be maximising her expected utility. However, the kinds of agents these theorems seem apt to tell us anything about are highly idealised, being always probabilistically…Read more