•  450
    How to Learn from Theory-Dependent Evidence; or Commutativity and Holism: A Solution for Conditionalizers
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3): 493-519. 2014.
    Weisberg ([2009]) provides an argument that neither conditionalization nor Jeffrey conditionalization is capable of accommodating the holist’s claim that beliefs acquired directly from experience can suffer undercutting defeat. I diagnose this failure as stemming from the fact that neither conditionalization nor Jeffrey conditionalization give any advice about how to rationally respond to theory-dependent evidence, and I propose a novel updating procedure that does tell us how to respond to evid…Read more
  •  273
    Diachronic Dutch Books and Evidential Import
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1): 49-80. 2019.
    A handful of well-known arguments (the 'diachronic Dutch book arguments') rely upon theorems establishing that, in certain circumstances, you are immune from sure monetary loss (you are not 'diachronically Dutch bookable') if and only if you adopt the strategy of conditionalizing (or Jeffrey conditionalizing) on whatever evidence you happen to receive. These theorems require non-trivial assumptions about which evidence you might acquire---in the case of conditionalization, the assumption is that…Read more
  •  270
    The Emergence of Causation
    Journal of Philosophy 112 (6): 281-308. 2015.
    Several philosophers have embraced the view that high-level events—events like Zimbabwe's monetary policy and its hyper-inflation—are causally related if their corresponding low-level, fundamental physical events are causally related. I dub the view which denies this without denying that high-level events are ever causally related causal emergentism. Several extant philosophical theories of causality entail causal emergentism, while others are inconsistent with the thesis. I illustrate this with…Read more
  •  256
    I present an account of deterministic chance which builds upon the physico-mathematical approach to theorizing about deterministic chance known as 'the method of arbitrary functions'. This approach promisingly yields deterministic probabilities which align with what we take the chances to be---it tells us that there is approximately a 1/2 probability of a spun roulette wheel stopping on black, and approximately a 1/2 probability of a flipped coin landing heads up---but it requires some probabili…Read more
  •  226
    A Model-Invariant Theory of Causation
    Philosophical Review. forthcoming.
    I provide a theory of causation within the causal modeling framework. In contrast to most of its predecessors, this theory is model-invariant in the following sense: if the theory says that C caused (didn't cause) E in a causal model, M, then it will continue to say that C caused (didn't cause) E once we've removed an inessential variable from M. I suggest that, if this theory is true, then we should understand a cause as something which transmits deviant or non-inertial behavior to its effect.
  •  214
    Updating for Externalists
    Noûs. forthcoming.
    The externalist says that your evidence could fail to tell you what evidence you do or not do have. In that case, it could be rational for you to be uncertain about what your evidence is. This is a kind of uncertainty which orthodox Bayesian epistemology has difficulty modeling. For, if externalism is correct, then the orthodox Bayesian learning norms of conditionalization and reflection are inconsistent with each other. I recommend that an externalist Bayesian reject conditionalization. In its …Read more
  •  191
    A theory of structural determination
    Philosophical Studies 173 (1): 159-186. 2016.
    While structural equations modeling is increasingly used in philosophical theorizing about causation, it remains unclear what it takes for a particular structural equations model to be correct. To the extent that this issue has been addressed, the consensus appears to be that it takes a certain family of causal counterfactuals being true. I argue that this account faces difficulties in securing the independent manipulability of the structural determination relations represented in a correct stru…Read more
  •  144
    No one can serve two epistemic masters
    Philosophical Studies 175 (10): 2389-2398. 2018.
    Consider two epistemic experts—for concreteness, let them be two weather forecasters. Suppose that you aren’t certain that they will issue identical forecasts, and you would like to proportion your degrees of belief to theirs in the following way: first, conditional on either’s forecast of rain being x, you’d like your own degree of belief in rain to be x. Secondly, conditional on them issuing different forecasts of rain, you’d like your own degree of belief in rain to be some weighted average o…Read more
  •  130
    The Causal Decision Theorist's Guide to Managing the News
    Journal of Philosophy 117 (3): 117-149. 2020.
    According to orthodox causal decision theory, performing an action can give you information about factors outside of your control, but you should not take this information into account when deciding what to do. Causal decision theorists caution against an irrational policy of 'managing the news'. But, by providing information about factors outside of your control, performing an act can give you two, importantly different, kinds of good news. It can tell you that the world in which you find your…Read more
  •  123
    Riches and Rationality
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 1-16. forthcoming.
    A one-boxer, Erica, and a two-boxer, Chloe, engage in a familiar debate. The debate begins with Erica asking Chloe: ‘If you’re so smart, then why ain’cha rich?’. As the debate progresses, Chloe is led to endorse a novel causalist theory of rational choice. This new theory allows Chloe to forge a connection between rational choice and long-run riches. In brief: Chloe concludes that it is not long-run wealth but rather long-run wealth creation which is symptomatic of rationality.
  •  106
    Newcomb’s Problem, Arif Ahmed (editor). Cambridge University Press, 2018, 233 pages.
  •  90
    The Principle of Indifference (POI) says that, in the absence of evidence, you should distribute your credences evenly. The Principal Principle (PP) says that, in the absence of evidence, you should align your credences with the chances. Richard Pettigrew (2016) appears to accept both the PP and the POI. Many other authors write as though Bayesians are free to accept both of these principles. Hawthorne et. al. (2017) even go so far as to argue that the PP implies the POI. Pettigrew (201…Read more
  •  86
    I present a decision problem in which orthodox causal decision theory appears to violate weak versions of the independence of irrelevant alternatives (IIA) and normal-form extensive-form equivalence (NEE). I show that these violations lead to exploitable behavior and long-run poverty. These consequences appear damning, but I urge caution. Causalists can dispute the charge that they violate IIA and NEE in this case by carefully specifying when two options in different decision problems are simila…Read more
  •  71
    Learning and Value Change
    Philosophers' Imprint 19 1--22. 2019.
    Accuracy-first accounts of rational learning attempt to vindicate the intuitive idea that, while rationally-formed belief need not be true, it is nevertheless likely to be true. To this end, they attempt to show that the Bayesian's rational learning norms are a consequence of the rational pursuit of accuracy. Existing accounts fall short of this goal, for they presuppose evidential norms which are not and cannot be vindicated in terms of the single-minded pursuit of accuracy. I propose an alt…Read more
  •  45
    Principles of expert deference say that you should align your credences with those of an expert. This expert could be your doctor, your future, better informed self, or the objective chances. These kinds of principles face difficulties in cases in which you are uncertain of the truth-conditions of the thoughts in which you invest credence, as well as cases in which the thoughts have different truth-conditions for you and the expert. For instance, you shouldn't defer to your doctor by alignin…Read more