Principles of Indifference

Journal of Philosophy 116 (7):390-411 (2019)
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The principle of indifference states that in the absence of any relevant evidence, a rational agent will distribute their credence equally among all the possible outcomes under consideration. Despite its intuitive plausibility, PI famously falls prey to paradox, and so is widely rejected as a principle of ideal rationality. In this article, I present a novel rehabilitation of PI in terms of the epistemology of comparative confidence judgments. In particular, I consider two natural comparative reformulations of PI and argue that while one of them prescribes the adoption of patently irrational epistemic states, the other provides a consistent formulation of PI that overcomes the most salient limitations of existing formulations.

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Benjamin Eva
Duke University


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