Coherence, Truthfulness, and Efficiency in Communication

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Abstract
Why should we make our beliefs consistent or, more generally, probabilistically coherent? That it will prevent sure losses in betting and that it will maximize one’s chances of having accurate beliefs are popular answers. However, these justifications are self-centered, focused on the consequences of our coherence for ourselves. I argue that incoherence has consequences for others because it is liable to mislead others, to false beliefs about one’s beliefs and false expectations about one’s behavior. I argue that the moral obligation of truthfulness thus constrains us to either conform to the logic our audience assumes we use, educate them in a new logic, or give notice that one will do neither. This does not show that probabilistic coherence is uniquely suited to making truthful communication possible, but I argue that classical probabilistic coherence is superior to other logics for maximizing efficiency in communication.
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Archival date: 2020-09-26
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2020-09-26

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