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Higher-order uncertainty

In Mattias Skipper & Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (eds.), Higher-Order Evidence: New Essays. Oxford University Press (2019)

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  1. Rational Polarization.Kevin Dorst - forthcoming - The Philosophical Review.
    Predictable polarization is everywhere: we can often predict how people’s opinions—including our own—will shift over time. Extant theories either neglect the fact that we can predict our own polarization, or explain it through irrational mechanisms. They needn’t. Empirical studies suggest that polarization is predictable when evidence is ambiguous, i.e. when the rational response is not obvious. I show how Bayesians should model such ambiguity, and then prove that—assuming rational updates are those which obey the value of evidence (Blackwell 1953; Good (...)
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  • Epistemic Akrasia: No Apology Required.David Christensen - 2022 - Noûs 1 (online first):1-22.
    It is natural to think that rationality imposes some relationship between what a person believes, and what she believes about what she’s rational to believe. Epistemic akrasia—for example, believing P while believing that P is not rational to believe in your situation—is often seen as intrinsically irrational. This paper argues otherwise. In certain cases, akrasia is intuitively rational. Understanding why akratic beliefs in those case are indeed rational provides a deeper explanation how typical akratic beliefs are irrational—an explanation that does (...)
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  • Higher-Order Defeat Without Epistemic Dilemmas.Mattias Skipper - 2018 - Logos and Episteme 9 (4):451-465.
    Many epistemologists have endorsed a version of the view that rational belief is sensitive to higher-order defeat. That is to say, even a fully rational belief state can be defeated by misleading higher-order evidence, which indicates that the belief state is irrational. In a recent paper, however, Maria Lasonen-Aarnio calls this view into doubt. Her argument proceeds in two stages. First, she argues that higher-order defeat calls for a two-tiered theory of epistemic rationality. Secondly, she argues that there seems to (...)
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  • Does rationality demand higher-order certainty?Mattias Skipper - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):11561-11585.
    Should you always be certain about what you should believe? In other words, does rationality demand higher-order certainty? First answer: Yes! Higher-order uncertainty can’t be rational, since it breeds at least a mild form of epistemic akrasia. Second answer: No! Higher-order certainty can’t be rational, since it licenses a dogmatic kind of insensitivity to higher-order evidence. Which answer wins out? The first, I argue. Once we get clearer about what higher-order certainty is, a view emerges on which higher-order certainty does (...)
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  • Tough enough? Robust satisficing as a decision norm for long-term policy analysis.Andreas L. Mogensen & David Thorstad - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-26.
    This paper aims to open a dialogue between philosophers working in decision theory and operations researchers and engineers working on decision-making under deep uncertainty. Specifically, we assess the recommendation to follow a norm of robust satisficing when making decisions under deep uncertainty in the context of decision analyses that rely on the tools of Robust Decision-Making developed by Robert Lempert and colleagues at RAND. We discuss two challenges for robust satisficing: whether the norm might derive its plausibility from an implicit (...)
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  • Deliberation and confidence change.Nora Heinzelmann & Stephan Hartmann - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-13.
    We argue that social deliberation may increase an agent’s confidence and credence under certain circumstances. An agent considers a proposition H and assigns a probability to it. However, she is not fully confident that she herself is reliable in this assignment. She then endorses H during deliberation with another person, expecting him to raise serious objections. To her surprise, however, the other person does not raise any objections to H. How should her attitudes toward H change? It seems plausible that (...)
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  • (Almost) all evidence is higher-order evidence.Brian Hedden & Kevin Dorst - 2022 - Analysis 82 (3):417-425.
    Higher-order evidence is evidence about what is rational to think in light of your evidence. Many have argued that it is special – falling into its own evidential category, or leading to deviations from standard rational norms. But it is not. Given standard assumptions, almost all evidence is higher-order evidence.
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  • Be modest: you're living on the edge.Kevin Dorst - 2022 - Analysis 81 (4):611-621.
    Many have claimed that whenever an investigation might provide evidence for a claim, it might also provide evidence against it. Similarly, many have claimed that your credence should never be on the edge of the range of credences that you think might be rational. Surprisingly, both of these principles imply that you cannot rationally be modest: you cannot be uncertain what the rational opinions are.
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  • Evidence: A Guide for the Uncertain.Kevin Dorst - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):586-632.
    Assume that it is your evidence that determines what opinions you should have. I argue that since you should take peer disagreement seriously, evidence must have two features. (1) It must sometimes warrant being modest: uncertain what your evidence warrants, and (thus) uncertain whether you’re rational. (2) But it must always warrant being guided: disposed to treat your evidence as a guide. Surprisingly, it is very difficult to vindicate both (1) and (2). But diagnosing why this is so leads to (...)
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  • Deference Done Better.Kevin Dorst, Benjamin A. Levinstein, Bernhard Salow, Brooke E. Husic & Branden Fitelson - 2021 - Philosophical Perspectives 35 (1):99-150.
    There are many things—call them ‘experts’—that you should defer to in forming your opinions. The trouble is, many experts are modest: they’re less than certain that they are worthy of deference. When this happens, the standard theories of deference break down: the most popular (“Reflection”-style) principles collapse to inconsistency, while their most popular (“New-Reflection”-style) variants allow you to defer to someone while regarding them as an anti-expert. We propose a middle way: deferring to someone involves preferring to make any decision (...)
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  • Climate Models and the Irrelevance of Chaos.Corey Dethier - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):997-1007.
    Philosophy of science has witnessed substantial recent debate over the existence of a structural analogue of chaos, which is alleged to spell trouble for certain uses of climate models. The debate over the analogy can and should be separated from its alleged epistemic implications: chaos-like behavior is neither necessary nor sufficient for small dynamical misrepresentations to generate erroneous results. The kind of sensitivity that matters in epistemology is one that induces unsafe beliefs, and the existence of a structural analogue to (...)
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  • Rational Moral Ignorance.Zach Barnett - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):645-664.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Fragmentation and Higher-Order Evidence.Daniel Greco - 2019 - In Mattias Skipper & Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (eds.), Higher-Order Evidence: New Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 84-104.
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  • Moral discourse boosts confidence in moral judgments.Nora Heinzelmann, Benedikt Höltgen & Viet Tran - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology 34.
    The so-called “conciliatory” norm in epistemology and meta-ethics requires that an agent, upon encountering peer disagreement with her judgment, lower her confidence about that judgment. But whether agents actually abide by this norm is unclear. Although confidence is excessively researched in the empirical sciences, possible effects of disagreement on confidence have been understudied. Here, we target this lacuna, reporting a study that measured confidence about moral beliefs before and after exposure to moral discourse about a controversial issue. Our findings indicate (...)
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  • Higher-Order Evidence.Kevin Dorst - forthcoming - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton Littlejohn (eds.), The Routledge Handbook for the Philosophy of Evidence. Routledge.
    On at least one of its uses, ‘higher-order evidence’ refers to evidence about what opinions are rationalized by your evidence. This chapter surveys the foundational epistemological questions raised by such evidence, the methods that have proven useful for answering them, and the potential consequences and applications of such answers.
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  • Being Rational and Being Wrong.Kevin Dorst - manuscript
    Do people tend to be overconfident in their opinions? Many think so. They’ve run studies to test whether people are calibrated: whether their confidence in their opinions matches the proportion of those opinions that are true. Under certain conditions, people are systematically “over-calibrated”—for example, of the opinions they’re 80% confident in, only 60% are true. From this observed over-calibration, it’s inferred that people are irrationally overconfident. My question: When—and why—is this inference warranted? Answering this question requires articulating a general connection (...)
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  • Higher-Order Defeat and the Impossibility of Self-Misleading Evidence.Mattias Skipper - forthcoming - In Mattias Skipper & Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (eds.), Higher-Order Evidence: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Evidentialism is the thesis, roughly, that one’s beliefs should fit one’s evidence. The enkratic principle is the thesis, roughly, that one’s beliefs should "line up" with one’s beliefs about which beliefs one ought to have. While both theses have seemed attractive to many, they jointly entail the controversial thesis that self-misleading evidence is impossible. That is to say, if evidentialism and the enkratic principle are both true, one’s evidence cannot support certain false beliefs about which beliefs one’s evidence supports. Recently, (...)
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