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Updating for Externalists

Noûs 55 (3):487-516 (2021)

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  1. Just As Planned: Bayesianism, Externalism, and Plan Coherence.Pablo Zendejas Medina - 2023 - Philosophers' Imprint 23.
    Two of the most influential arguments for Bayesian updating ("Conditionalization") -- Hilary Greaves' and David Wallace's Accuracy Argument and David Lewis' Diachronic Dutch Book Argument-- turn out to impose a strong and surprising limitation on rational uncertainty: that one can never be rationally uncertain of what one's evidence is. Many philosophers ("externalists") reject that claim, and now seem to face a difficult choice: either to endorse the arguments and give up Externalism, or to reject the arguments and lose some of (...)
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  • Reflection and conditionalization: Comments on Michael Rescorla.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2023 - Noûs 57 (3):539-552.
    Rescorla explores the relation between Reflection, Conditionalization, and Dutch book arguments in the presence of a weakened concept of sure loss and weakened conditions of self‐transparency for doxastic agents. The literature about Reflection and about Dutch Book arguments, though overlapping, are distinct, and its history illuminates the import of Rescorla's investigation. With examples from a previous debate in the 70s and results about Reflection and Conditionalization in the 80s, I propose a way of seeing the epistemic enterprise in the light (...)
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  • Accuracy-dominance and conditionalization.Michael Nielsen - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3217-3236.
    Epistemic decision theory produces arguments with both normative and mathematical premises. I begin by arguing that philosophers should care about whether the mathematical premises (1) are true, (2) are strong, and (3) admit simple proofs. I then discuss a theorem that Briggs and Pettigrew (2020) use as a premise in a novel accuracy-dominance argument for conditionalization. I argue that the theorem and its proof can be improved in a number of ways. First, I present a counterexample that shows that one (...)
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  • Updating without evidence.Yoaav Isaacs & Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2023 - Noûs 57 (3):576-599.
    Sometimes you are unreliable at fulfilling your doxastic plans: for example, if you plan to be fully confident in all truths, probably you will end up being fully confident in some falsehoods by mistake. In some cases, there is information that plays the classical role of evidence—your beliefs are perfectly discriminating with respect to some possible facts about the world—and there is a standard expected‐accuracy‐based justification for planning to conditionalize on this evidence. This planning‐oriented justification extends to some cases where (...)
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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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  • The value of cost-free uncertain evidence.Patryk Dziurosz-Serafinowicz & Dominika Dziurosz-Serafinowicz - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13313-13343.
    We explore the question of whether cost-free uncertain evidence is worth waiting for in advance of making a decision. A classical result in Bayesian decision theory, known as the value of evidence theorem, says that, under certain conditions, when you update your credences by conditionalizing on some cost-free and certain evidence, the subjective expected utility of obtaining this evidence is never less than the subjective expected utility of not obtaining it. We extend this result to a type of update method, (...)
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  • Rational Polarization.Kevin Dorst - 2023 - Philosophical Review 132 (3):355-458.
    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, that is, 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—ambiguity (...)
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  • Being Rational and Being Wrong.Kevin Dorst - 2023 - Philosophers' Imprint 23 (1).
    Do people tend to be overconfident? Many think so. They’ve run studies on whether people are calibrated: whether their average 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 empirical over-calibration, it’s inferred that people are irrationally overconfident. My question: When and why is this inference warranted? Answering it requires articulating a general connection between being (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Updating incoherent credences ‐ Extending the Dutch strategy argument for conditionalization.Glauber De Bona & Julia Staffel - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 105 (2):435-460.
    In this paper, we ask: how should an agent who has incoherent credences update when they learn new evidence? The standard Bayesian answer for coherent agents is that they should conditionalize; however, this updating rule is not defined for incoherent starting credences. We show how one of the main arguments for conditionalization, the Dutch strategy argument, can be extended to devise a target property for updating plans that can apply to them regardless of whether the agent starts out with coherent (...)
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  • Externalism and exploitability.Nilanjan Das - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (1):101-128.
    According to Bayesian orthodoxy, an agent should update---or at least should plan to update---her credences by conditionalization. Some have defended this claim by means of a diachronic Dutch book argument. They say: an agent who does not plan to update her credences by conditionalization is vulnerable (by her own lights) to a diachronic Dutch book, i.e., a sequence of bets which, when accepted, guarantee loss of utility. Here, I show that this argument is in tension with evidence externalism, i.e., the (...)
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  • A modesty proposal.Jennifer Rose Carr - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3581-3601.
    Accuracy-first epistemology aims to show that the norms of epistemic rationality can be derived from the effective pursuit of accuracy. This paper explores the prospects within accuracy-first epistemology for vindicating “modesty”: the thesis that ideal rationality permits uncertainty about one’s own rationality. I argue that accuracy-first epistemology faces serious challenges in accommodating three forms of modesty: uncertainty about what priors are rational, uncertainty about whether one’s update policy is rational, and uncertainty about what one’s evidence is. I argue that the (...)
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  • Expert Deference De Se.J. Dmitri Gallow - manuscript
    Principles of expert deference say that you should align your credences with those of an expert. This expert could be your doctor, the objective chances, or your future self, after you've learnt something new. 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 (...)
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  • Taking a Good look at the norms of gathering and responding to evidence.Richard Pettigrew - manuscript
    In the recent philosophical literature on inquiry, epistemologists point out that their subject has often begun at the point at which you already have your evidence and then focussed on identifying the beliefs for which that evidence provides justification. But we are not mere passive recipients of evidence. While some comes to us unbidden, we often actively collect it. This has long been recognised, but typically epistemologists have taken the norms that govern inquiry to be practical, not epistemic. The recent (...)
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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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