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  1. Rational Theory Choice: Arrow Undermined, Kuhn Vindicated.Seamus Bradley - unknown
    In a recent paper, Samir Okasha presented an argument that suggests that there is no rational way to choose among scientific theories. This would seriously undermine the view that science is a rational entreprise. In this paper I show how a suitably nuanced view of what scientific rationality requires allows us to avoid Okasha’s conclusion. I go on to argue that making further assumptions about the space of possible scientific theories allows us to make scientific rationality more contentful. I then (...)
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  • Belief, Credence and Statistical Evidence.Davide Fassio & Jie Gao - 2020 - Theoria 86 (4):500-527.
    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. (...)
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  • Bayesianism and Inference to the Best Explanation.Leah Henderson - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):687-715.
    Two of the most influential theories about scientific inference are inference to the best explanation and Bayesianism. How are they related? Bas van Fraassen has claimed that IBE and Bayesianism are incompatible rival theories, as any probabilistic version of IBE would violate Bayesian conditionalization. In response, several authors have defended the view that IBE is compatible with Bayesian updating. They claim that the explanatory considerations in IBE are taken into account by the Bayesian because the Bayesian either does or should (...)
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  • On the Interpretation of Decision Theory.Samir Okasha - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy:1-25.
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  • Arguments For—Or Against—Probabilism?Alan Hájek - 2009 - In Franz Huber & Christoph Schmidt-Petri (eds.), British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 229--251.
    Four important arguments for probabilism—the Dutch Book, representation theorem, calibration, and gradational accuracy arguments—have a strikingly similar structure. Each begins with a mathematical theorem, a conditional with an existentially quantified consequent, of the general form: if your credences are not probabilities, then there is a way in which your rationality is impugned. Each argument concludes that rationality requires your credences to be probabilities. I contend that each argument is invalid as formulated. In each case there is a mirror-image theorem and (...)
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  • Representation Theorems and the Foundations of Decision Theory.Christopher J. G. Meacham & Jonathan Weisberg - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):641 - 663.
    Representation theorems are often taken to provide the foundations for decision theory. First, they are taken to characterize degrees of belief and utilities. Second, they are taken to justify two fundamental rules of rationality: that we should have probabilistic degrees of belief and that we should act as expected utility maximizers. We argue that representation theorems cannot serve either of these foundational purposes, and that recent attempts to defend the foundational importance of representation theorems are unsuccessful. As a result, we (...)
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  • Probabilism, Representation Theorems, and Whether Deliberation Crowds Out Prediction.Edward Elliott - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (2):379-399.
    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 problem directly relates to the question of whether we can have (...)
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  • Utilising Explanatory Factors in Induction?Mark Tregear - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (3):505-519.
    This paper considers how explanatory factors can play a role in our ampliative inferential practices. Van Fraassen has argued that there is no possible rational rule that governs ampliative inferences and includes weightings for explanatory beauty. In opposition to van Fraassen, Douven has argued that ampliative inferential rules that include weightings for explanatory factors can be rationally followed. There is, however, a crucial difficulty with Douven's approach: applying the ampliative rule that he suggests leads into irrational belief states. A way (...)
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  • Regularity and Hyperreal Credences.Kenny Easwaran - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (1):1-41.
    Many philosophers have become worried about the use of standard real numbers for the probability function that represents an agent's credences. They point out that real numbers can't capture the distinction between certain extremely unlikely events and genuinely impossible ones—they are both represented by credence 0, which violates a principle known as “regularity.” Following Skyrms 1980 and Lewis 1980, they recommend that we should instead use a much richer set of numbers, called the “hyperreals.” This essay argues that this popular (...)
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  • Varieties of Bayesianism.Jonathan Weisberg - manuscript
    Handbook of the History of Logic, vol. 10, eds. Dov Gabbay, Stephan Hartmann, and John Woods, forthcoming.
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  • Constraints on Rational Theory Choice.Seamus Bradley - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (3):639-661.
    ABSTRACT In a recent article, Samir Okasha presented an argument that suggests that there is no rational way to choose among scientific theories. This would seriously undermine the view that science is a rational enterprise. In this article, I show how a suitably nuanced view of what scientific rationality requires allows us to sidestep this argument. In doing so, I present a new argument in favour of voluntarism of the type favoured by van Fraassen. I then show how such a (...)
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  • The Main Two Arguments for Probabilism Are Flawed.Luigi Secchi - 2014 - Synthese 191 (3):287-295.
    Probabilism, the view that agents have numerical degrees of beliefs that conform to the axioms of probability, has been defended by the vast majority of its proponents by way of either of two arguments, the Dutch Book Argument and the Representation Theorems Argument. In this paper I argue that both arguments are flawed. The Dutch Book Argument is based on an unwarranted, ad hoc premise that cannot be dispensed with. The Representation Theorems Argument hinges on an invalid implication.
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  • Bayesian Chance.William Harper, Sheldon J. Chow & Gemma Murray - 2012 - Synthese 186 (2):447-474.
    This paper explores how the Bayesian program benefits from allowing for objective chance as well as subjective degree of belief. It applies David Lewis’s Principal Principle and David Christensen’s principle of informed preference to defend Howard Raiffa’s appeal to preferences between reference lotteries and scaling lotteries to represent degrees of belief. It goes on to outline the role of objective lotteries in an application of rationality axioms equivalent to the existence of a utility assignment to represent preferences in Savage’s famous (...)
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  • Believing and Acting: Voluntary Control and the Pragmatic Theory of Belief.Brian Hedden - 2015 - Logos and Episteme 6 (4):495-513.
    I argue that a attractive theory about the metaphysics of belief—the prag- matic, interpretationist theory endorsed by Stalnaker, Lewis, and Dennett, among others—implies that agents have a novel form of voluntary control over their beliefs. According to the pragmatic picture, what it is to have a given belief is in part for that belief to be part of an optimal rationalization of your actions. Since you have voluntary control over your actions, and what actions you perform in part determines what (...)
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  • Bayesianism I: Introduction and Arguments in Favor.Kenny Easwaran - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (5):312-320.
    Bayesianism is a collection of positions in several related fields, centered on the interpretation of probability as something like degree of belief, as contrasted with relative frequency, or objective chance. However, Bayesianism is far from a unified movement. Bayesians are divided about the nature of the probability functions they discuss; about the normative force of this probability function for ordinary and scientific reasoning and decision making; and about what relation (if any) holds between Bayesian and non-Bayesian concepts.
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  • Total Pragmatic Encroachment and Epistemic Permissiveness.Katherine Rubin - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (1):12-38.
    This article explores the relationship between pragmatic encroachment and epistemic permissiveness. If the suggestion that all epistemic notions are interest-relative is viable , then it seems that a certain species of epistemic permissivism must be viable as well. For, if all epistemic notions are interest relative then, sometimes, parties in paradigmatic cases of shared evidence can be maximally rational in forming competing basic doxastic attitudes towards the same proposition. However, I argue that this total pragmatic encroachment is not tenable, and, (...)
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  • Scotching Dutch Books?Alan Hajek - 2005 - Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):139-151.
    The Dutch Book argument, like Route 66, is about to turn 80. It is arguably the most celebrated argument for subjective Bayesianism. Start by rejecting the Cartesian idea that doxastic attitudes are ‘all-or-nothing’; rather, they are far more nuanced degrees of belief, for short credences, susceptible to fine-grained numerical measurement. Add a coherentist assumption that the rationality of a doxastic state consists in its internal consistency. The remaining problem is to determine what consistency of credences amounts to. The Dutch Book (...)
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