“Contemporary Analytic Philosophy and Bayesian Subjectivism: Why Both are Incoherent”, Philosophy Study, Vol. 6, No. 10 (Oct. 2016): 578-85 [Book Review]

Philosophy Study:578-85 (2016)
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My purpose in this paper is to argue for two separate, but related theses. The first is that contemporary analytic philosophy is incoherent. This is so, I argue, because its methods contain as an essential constituent a conception of intuition that cannot be rendered consistent with a key tenet of analytic philosophy unless we allow a Bayesian-subjectivist epistemology. I argue for this within a discussion of two theories of intuition: a classical account as proposed by Descartes and a modern reliabilist account as proposed by Kornblith, maintaining that reliabilist accounts require a commitment to Bayesian subjectivism about probability. However, and this is the second thesis, Bayesian subjectivism is itself logically incoherent given two simple assumptions: (1) that some empirical propositions are known and (2) any proposition that is known is assigned a degree of subjective credence of 1. I establish this using a formal reductio proof. I argue for the first thesis in section 2 and for the second in section 3. The final section contains a summary and conclusion.

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Tom Vinci
Dalhousie University


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