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Lara Buchak
University of California, Berkeley
  1. Belief, Credence, and Norms.Lara Buchak - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):1-27.
    There are currently two robust traditions in philosophy dealing with doxastic attitudes: the tradition that is concerned primarily with all-or-nothing belief, and the tradition that is concerned primarily with degree of belief or credence. This paper concerns the relationship between belief and credence for a rational agent, and is directed at those who may have hoped that the notion of belief can either be reduced to credence or eliminated altogether when characterizing the norms governing ideally rational agents. It presents a (...)
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  2. Can It Be Rational to Have Faith?Lara Buchak - 2012 - In Jake Chandler & Victoria Harrison (eds.), Probability in the Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press. pp. 225.
    This paper provides an account of what it is to have faith in a proposition p, in both religious and mundane contexts. It is argued that faith in p doesn’t require adopting a degree of belief that isn’t supported by one’s evidence but rather it requires terminating one’s search for further evidence and acting on the supposition that p. It is then shown, by responding to a formal result due to I.J. Good, that doing so can be rational in a (...)
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  3. Free Acts and Chance: Why The Rollback Argument Fails.Lara Buchak - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (250):20-28.
    The ‘rollback argument,’ pioneered by Peter van Inwagen, purports to show that indeterminism in any form is incompatible with free will. The argument has two major premises: the first claims that certain facts about chances obtain in a certain kind of hypothetical situation, and the second that these facts entail that some actual act is not free. Since the publication of the rollback argument, the second claim has been vehemently debated, but everyone seems to have taken the first claim for (...)
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  4. Groupthink.Jeffrey Sanford Russell, John Hawthorne & Lara Buchak - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1287-1309.
    How should a group with different opinions (but the same values) make decisions? In a Bayesian setting, the natural question is how to aggregate credences: how to use a single credence function to naturally represent a collection of different credence functions. An extension of the standard Dutch-book arguments that apply to individual decision-makers recommends that group credences should be updated by conditionalization. This imposes a constraint on what aggregation rules can be like. Taking conditionalization as a basic constraint, we gather (...)
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  5. Reason and Faith.Lara Buchak - forthcoming - In William J. Abraham & Frederick D. Aquino (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Epistemology of Theology. Oxford University Press.
    Faith is a central attitude in Christian religious practice. The problem of faith and reason is the problem of reconciling religious faith with the standards for our belief-forming practices in general (‘ordinary epistemic standards’). In order to see whether and when faith can be reconciled with ordinary epistemic standards, we first need to know what faith is. This chapter examines and catalogues views of propositional faith: faith that p. It is concerned with the epistemology of such faith: what cognitive attitudes (...)
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  6. Rational Faith and Justified Belief.Lara Buchak - 2014 - In Timothy O'Connor & Laura Frances Callahan (eds.), Religious Faith and Intellectual Virtue. Oxford University Press. pp. 49-73.
    In “Can it be rational to have faith?”, it was argued that to have faith in some proposition consists, roughly speaking, in stopping one’s search for evidence and committing to act on that proposition without further evidence. That paper also outlined when and why stopping the search for evidence and acting is rationally required. Because the framework of that paper was that of formal decision theory, it primarily considered the relationship between faith and degrees of belief, rather than between faith (...)
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  7. Revisiting Risk and Rationality: A Reply to Pettigrew and Briggs.Lara Buchak - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (5):841-862.
    I have claimed that risk-weighted expected utility maximizers are rational, and that their preferences cannot be captured by expected utility theory. Richard Pettigrew and Rachael Briggs have recently challenged these claims. Both authors argue that only EU-maximizers are rational. In addition, Pettigrew argues that the preferences of REU-maximizers can indeed be captured by EU theory, and Briggs argues that REU-maximizers lose a valuable tool for simplifying their decision problems. I hold that their arguments do not succeed and that my original (...)
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  8. Decision Theory.Lara Buchak - forthcoming - In Christopher Hitchcock & Alan Hajek (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    Decision theory has at its core a set of mathematical theorems that connect rational preferences to functions with certain structural properties. The components of these theorems, as well as their bearing on questions surrounding rationality, can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Philosophy’s current interest in decision theory represents a convergence of two very different lines of thought, one concerned with the question of how one ought to act, and the other concerned with the question of what action consists (...)
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  9. Why High-Risk, Non-Expected-Utility-Maximising Gambles Can Be Rational and Beneficial: The Case of HIV Cure Studies.Lara Buchak - 2016 - Journal of Medical Ethics (2):1-6.
    Some early phase clinical studies of candidate HIV cure and remission interventions appear to have adverse medical risk–benefit ratios for participants. Why, then, do people participate? And is it ethically permissible to allow them to participate? Recent work in decision theory sheds light on both of these questions, by casting doubt on the idea that rational individuals prefer choices that maximise expected utility, and therefore by casting doubt on the idea that researchers have an ethical obligation not to enrol participants (...)
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  10. Risk and Tradeoffs.Lara Buchak - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S6):1091-1117.
    The orthodox theory of instrumental rationality, expected utility (EU) theory, severely restricts the way in which risk-considerations can figure into a rational individual's preferences. It is argued here that this is because EU theory neglects an important component of instrumental rationality. This paper presents a more general theory of decision-making, risk-weighted expected utility (REU) theory, of which expected utility maximization is a special case. According to REU theory, the weight that each outcome gets in decision-making is not the subjective probability (...)
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  11. Learning Not to Be Naïve: A Comment on the Exchange Between Perrine/Wykstra and Draper.Lara Buchak - 2014 - In Trent Dougherty & Justin McBrayer (eds.), Skeptical Theism: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Does postulating skeptical theism undermine the claim that evil strongly confirms atheism over theism? According to Perrine and Wykstra, it does undermine the claim, because evil is no more likely on atheism than on skeptical theism. According to Draper, it does not undermine the claim, because evil is much more likely on atheism than on theism in general. I show that the probability facts alone do not resolve their disagreement, which ultimately rests on which updating procedure – conditionalizing or updating (...)
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  12.  33
    Reasons and Rationality: The Case of Group Agents.Lara Buchak & Philip Pettit - 2015 - In Iwao Hirose & Andrew Reisner (eds.), Weighing and Reasoning: Themes from the Philosophy of John Broome. Oxford University Press.
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  13. Oyun: A New, Free Program for Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma Tournaments in the Classroom.Charles H. Pence & Lara Buchak - 2012 - Evolution Education and Outreach 5 (3):467-476.
    Evolutionary applications of game theory present one of the most pedagogically accessible varieties of genuine, contemporary theoretical biology. We present here Oyun (OY-oon, http://charlespence.net/oyun), a program designed to run iterated prisoner’s dilemma tournaments, competitions between prisoner’s dilemma strategies developed by the students themselves. Using this software, students are able to readily design and tweak their own strategies, and to see how they fare both in round-robin tournaments and in “evolutionary” tournaments, where the scores in a given “generation” directly determine contribution (...)
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