•  11
    In a series of papers over the past twenty years, and in a new book, Igor Douven has argued that Bayesians are too quick to reject versions of inference to the best explanation that cannot be accommodated within their framework. In this paper, I survey their worries and attempt to answer them using a series of pragmatic and purely epistemic arguments that I take to show that Bayes’ Rule really is the only rational way to respond to your evidence.
  •  688
    When is a belief justified? There are three families of arguments we typically use to support different accounts of justification: arguments from our intuitive responses to vignettes that involve the concept; arguments from the theoretical role we would like the concept to play in epistemology; and arguments from the practical, moral, and political uses to which we wish to put the concept. I focus particularly on the third sort, and specifically on arguments of this sort offered by Clayton Littl…Read more
  •  109
    For the Routledge Handbook of Autonomy (edited by Ben Colburn) Our values change. What we value, want, desire, prefer, and how much; for nearly everyone, these will be different at different times in their life. These changes can be gradual or abrupt; they can be long-lasting or short-lived; and they can be induced by forces outside yourself or they can come from within or they can have no specific catalyst at all. Such preference change raises a number of questions for our theorising about rati…Read more
  •  185
    The short abstract: Epistemic utility theory + permissivism about attitudes to epistemic risk => permissivism about rational credences. The longer abstract: I argue that epistemic rationality is permissive. More specifically, I argue for two claims. First, a radical version of interpersonal permissivism about rational credence: for many bodies of evidence, there is a wide range of credal states for which there is some individual who might rationally adopt that state in response to that evidence…Read more
  • What Chance-Credence Norms Should Not Be
    Noûs 49 (1): 177-196. 2015.
  •  191
    (This is for the Cambridge Handbook of Analytic Philosophy, edited by Marcus Rossberg) In this handbook entry, I survey the different ways in which formal mathematical methods have been applied to philosophical questions throughout the history of analytic philosophy. I consider: formalization in symbolic logic, with examples such as Aquinas’ third way and Anselm’s ontological argument; Bayesian confirmation theory, with examples such as the fine-tuning argument for God and the paradox of the ra…Read more
  •  174
    In a series of papers over the past twenty years, and in a new book, Igor Douven (sometimes in collaboration with Sylvia Wenmackers) has argued that Bayesians are too quick to reject versions of inference to the best explanation or abduction that cannot be accommodated within their framework. In this paper, I survey Douven’s worries and bring to bear a series of pragmatic and purely epistemic arguments to show that Bayes’ Rule really is the only correct way to respond to your evidence.
  •  172
    Accuracy-first epistemology without additivity
    Philosophy of Science. forthcoming.
    Accuracy arguments for the core tenets of Bayesian epistemology differ mainly in the conditions they place on the legitimate ways of measuring the inaccuracy of our credences. The best existing arguments rely on three conditions: Continuity, Additivity, and Strict Propriety. In this paper, I show how to strengthen the arguments based on these conditions by showing that the central mathematical theorem on which each depends goes through without assuming Additivity.
  • Making Things Right: The True Consequences of Decision Theory in Epistemology
    In Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij & Jeff Dunn (eds.), Epistemic Consequentialism, Oxford University Press. pp. 220-239. 2018.
  • Dutch Book Arguments
    Cambridge University Press. 2020.
    Our beliefs come in degrees. I'm 70% confident it will rain tomorrow, and 0.001% sure my lottery ticket will win. What's more, we think these degrees of belief should abide by certain principles if they are to be rational. For instance, you shouldn't believe that a person's taller than 6ft more strongly than you believe that they're taller than 5ft, since the former entails the latter. In Dutch Book arguments, we try to establish the principles of rationality for degrees of belief by appealing t…Read more
  • The Dutch Book Argument
    Cambridge University Press. 2020.
  •  223
    Accuracy, Risk, and the Principle of Indifference
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (1): 35-59. 2016.
    In Bayesian epistemology, the problem of the priors is this: How should we set our credences (or degrees of belief) in the absence of evidence? That is, how should we set our prior or initial credences, the credences with which we begin our credal life? David Lewis liked to call an agent at the beginning of her credal journey a superbaby. The problem of the priors asks for the norms that govern these superbabies. The Principle of Indifference gives a very restrictive answer. It demands that such…Read more
  •  25
    The Principal Principle Does Not Imply the Principle of Indifference
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2): 605-619. 2020.
    In a recent paper in this journal, James Hawthorne, Jürgen Landes, Christian Wallmann, and Jon Williamson argue that the principal principle entails the principle of indifference. In this article, I argue that it does not. Lewis’s version of the principal principle notoriously depends on a notion of admissibility, which Lewis uses to restrict its application. HLWW base their argument on certain intuitions concerning when one proposition is admissible for another: Conditions 1 and 2. There are tw…Read more
  •  191
    Michael Rescorla (2020) has recently pointed out that the standard arguments for Bayesian Conditionalization assume that whenever you take yourself to learn something with certainty, it's true. Most people would reject this assumption. In response, Rescorla offers an improved Dutch Book argument for Bayesian Conditionalization that does not make this assumption. My purpose in this paper is two-fold. First, I want to illuminate Rescorla's new argument by giving a very general Dutch Book argument …Read more
  •  19
    On the Accuracy of Group Credences
    Oxford Studies in Epistemology 6. 2019.
    We often ask for the opinion of a group of individuals. How strongly does the scientific community believe that the rate at which sea levels are rising has increased over the last 200 years? How likely does the UK Treasury think it is that there will be a recession if the country leaves the European Union? What are these group credences that such questions request? And how do they relate to the individual credences assigned by the members of the particular group in question? According to the cre…Read more
  •  819
    Choosing for Changing Selves
    Oxford University Press. 2019.
    What we value, like, endorse, want, and prefer changes over the course of our lives. Richard Pettigrew presents a theory of rational decision making for agents who recognise that their values will change over time and whose decisions will affect those future times.
  •  42
    In a recent paper, Pettigrew argues that the pragmatic and epistemic arguments for Bayesian updating are based on an unwarranted assumption, which he calls deterministic updating, and which says that your updating plan should be deterministic. In that paper, Pettigrew did not consider whether the symmetry arguments due to Hughes and van Fraassen make the same assumption Scientific inquiry in philosophical perspective. University Press of America, Lanham, pp. 183–223, 1987). In this note, I show …Read more
  •  53
    This paper examines the relationship between the KK principle and the epistemological theses of externalism and internalism. In particular we examine arguments from Okasha :80–86, 2013) and Greco :169–197, 2014) which deny that we can derive the denial of the KK principle from externalism.
  •  329
    Logical ignorance and logical learning
    Synthese 1-30. forthcoming.
    According to certain normative theories in epistemology, rationality requires us to be logically omniscient. Yet this prescription clashes with our ordinary judgments of rationality. How should we resolve this tension? In this paper, I focus particularly on the logical omniscience requirement in Bayesian epistemology. Building on a key insight by Ian Hacking (1967), I develop a version of Bayesianism that permits logical ignorance. This includes an account of the synchronic norms that govern a l…Read more
  •  1292
    The Open Handbook of Formal Epistemology (edited book)
    PhilPapers Foundation. 2019.
    In formal epistemology, we use mathematical methods to explore the questions of epistemology and rational choice. What can we know? What should we believe and how strongly? How should we act based on our beliefs and values? We begin by modelling phenomena like knowledge, belief, and desire using mathematical machinery, just as a biologist might model the fluctuations of a pair of competing populations, or a physicist might model the turbulence of a fluid passing through a small aperture. Then, w…Read more
  •  391
    What is conditionalization, and why should we do it?
    Philosophical Studies 177 (11): 3427-3463. 2020.
    Conditionalization is one of the central norms of Bayesian epistemology. But there are a number of competing formulations, and a number of arguments that purport to establish it. In this paper, I explore which formulations of the norm are supported by which arguments. In their standard formulations, each of the arguments I consider here depends on the same assumption, which I call Deterministic Updating. I will investigate whether it is possible to amend these arguments so that they no longer de…Read more
  •  303
    Veritism, Epistemic Risk, and the Swamping Problem
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (4): 761-774. 2019.
    Veritism says that the fundamental source of epistemic value for a doxastic state is the extent to which it represents the world correctly: that is, its fundamental epistemic value is deter...
  •  102
    The Dutch Book Arguments
    Cambridge University Press. 2020.
    (This is for the series Elements of Decision Theory published by Cambridge University Press and edited by Martin Peterson) Our beliefs come in degrees. I believe some things more strongly than I believe others. I believe very strongly that global temperatures will continue to rise during the coming century; I believe slightly less strongly that the European Union will still exist in 2029; and I believe much less strongly that Cardiff is east of Edinburgh. My credence in something is a measure of…Read more
  •  549
    What is justified credence?
    Episteme 18 (1): 16-30. 2021.
    In this paper, we seek a reliabilist account of justified credence. Reliabilism about justified beliefs comes in two varieties: process reliabilism (Goldman, 1979, 2008) and indicator reliabilism (Alston, 1988, 2005). Existing accounts of reliabilism about justified credence comes in the same two varieties: Jeff Dunn (2015) proposes a version of process reliabilism, while Weng Hong Tang (2016) offers a version of indicator reliabilism. As we will see, both face the same objection. If they are ri…Read more
  •  41
    What we talk about when we talk about numbers
    Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 169 (12): 1437-1456. 2018.
    In this paper, I describe and motivate a new species of mathematical structuralism, which I call Instrumental Nominalism about Set-Theoretic Structuralism. As the name suggests, this approach takes standard Set-Theoretic Structuralism of the sort championed by Bourbaki and removes its ontological commitments by taking an instrumental nominalist approach to that ontology of the sort described by Joseph Melia and Gideon Rosen. I argue that this avoids all of the problems that plague other versions…Read more
  •  340
    The Dutch Book Argument for Probabilism assumes Ramsey's Thesis (RT), which purports to determine the prices an agent is rationally required to pay for a bet. Recently, a new objection to Ramsey's Thesis has emerged (Hedden 2013, Wronski & Godziszewski 2017, Wronski 2018)--I call this the Expected Utility Objection. According to this objection, it is Maximise Subjective Expected Utility (MSEU) that determines the prices an agent is required to pay for a bet, and this often disagrees with Ramsey'…Read more
  •  12
    Replies to commentators on Accuracy and the Laws of Credence
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (3): 784-800. 2018.