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Richard Pettigrew
Bristol University
  1. What is Justified Credence?Richard Pettigrew - 2021 - Episteme 18 (1):16-30.
    In this paper, we seek a reliabilist account of justified credence. Reliabilism about justified beliefs comes in two varieties: process reliabilism (Goldman, 1979, 2008) and indicator reliabilism (Alston, 1988, 2005). Existing accounts of reliabilism about justified credence comes in the same two varieties: Jeff Dunn (2015) proposes a version of process reliabilism, while Weng Hong Tang (2016) offers a version of indicator reliabilism. As we will see, both face the same objection. If they are right about what justification is, it (...)
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  2. Choosing for Changing Selves.Richard Pettigrew - 2019 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    What we value, like, endorse, want, and prefer changes over the course of our lives. Richard Pettigrew presents a theory of rational decision making for agents who recognise that their values will change over time and whose decisions will affect those future times.
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  3. Transformative Experience and Decision Theory.Richard Pettigrew - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3):766-774.
    This paper is part of a book symposium for L. A. Paul (2014) Transformative Experience (OUP).
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  4. Logical Ignorance and Logical Learning.Richard Pettigrew - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9991-10020.
    According to certain normative theories in epistemology, rationality requires us to be logically omniscient. Yet this prescription clashes with our ordinary judgments of rationality. How should we resolve this tension? In this paper, I focus particularly on the logical omniscience requirement in Bayesian epistemology. Building on a key insight by Hacking :311–325, 1967), I develop a version of Bayesianism that permits logical ignorance. This includes: an account of the synchronic norms that govern a logically ignorant individual at any given time; (...)
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  5. What is conditionalization, and why should we do it?Richard Pettigrew - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3427-3463.
    Conditionalization is one of the central norms of Bayesian epistemology. But there are a number of competing formulations, and a number of arguments that purport to establish it. In this paper, I explore which formulations of the norm are supported by which arguments. In their standard formulations, each of the arguments I consider here depends on the same assumption, which I call Deterministic Updating. I will investigate whether it is possible to amend these arguments so that they no longer depend (...)
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  6. On the Pragmatic and Epistemic Virtues of Inference to the Best Explanation.Richard Pettigrew - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12407-12438.
    In a series of papers over the past twenty years, and in a new book, Igor Douven has argued that Bayesians are too quick to reject versions of inference to the best explanation that cannot be accommodated within their framework. In this paper, I survey their worries and attempt to answer them using a series of pragmatic and purely epistemic arguments that I take to show that Bayes’ Rule really is the only rational way to respond to your evidence.
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  7. On the Accuracy of Group Credences.Richard Pettigrew - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 6.
    to appear in Szabó Gendler, T. & J. Hawthorne (eds.) Oxford Studies in Epistemology volume 6 We often ask for the opinion of a group of individuals. How strongly does the scientific community believe that the rate at which sea levels are rising increased over the last 200 years? How likely does the UK Treasury think it is that there will be a recession if the country leaves the European Union? What are these group credences that such questions request? And (...)
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  8. On the Expected Utility Objection to the Dutch Book Argument for Probabilism.Richard Pettigrew - 2021 - Noûs (1):23-38.
    The Dutch Book Argument for Probabilism assumes Ramsey's Thesis (RT), which purports to determine the prices an agent is rationally required to pay for a bet. Recently, a new objection to Ramsey's Thesis has emerged (Hedden 2013, Wronski & Godziszewski 2017, Wronski 2018)--I call this the Expected Utility Objection. According to this objection, it is Maximise Subjective Expected Utility (MSEU) that determines the prices an agent is required to pay for a bet, and this often disagrees with Ramsey's Thesis. I (...)
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  9. Bayesian Updating When What You Learn Might Be False.Richard Pettigrew - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-16.
    Michael Rescorla (2020) has recently pointed out that the standard arguments for Bayesian Conditionalization assume that whenever you take yourself to learn something with certainty, it's true. Most people would reject this assumption. In response, Rescorla offers an improved Dutch Book argument for Bayesian Conditionalization that does not make this assumption. My purpose in this paper is two-fold. First, I want to illuminate Rescorla's new argument by giving a very general Dutch Book argument that applies to many cases of updating (...)
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  10. The Open Handbook of Formal Epistemology.Richard Pettigrew & Jonathan Weisberg (eds.) - 2019 - PhilPapers Foundation.
    In formal epistemology, we use mathematical methods to explore the questions of epistemology and rational choice. What can we know? What should we believe and how strongly? How should we act based on our beliefs and values? We begin by modelling phenomena like knowledge, belief, and desire using mathematical machinery, just as a biologist might model the fluctuations of a pair of competing populations, or a physicist might model the turbulence of a fluid passing through a small aperture. Then, we (...)
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  11. Believing is Said of Groups in Many Ways (and so It Should Be Said of Them in None).Richard Pettigrew -
    In the first half of this paper, I argue that group belief ascriptions are highly ambiguous. What's more, in many cases, neither the available contextual factors nor known pragmatic considerations are sufficient to allow the audience to identify which of the many possible meanings is intended. In the second half, I argue that this ambiguity often has bad consequences when a group belief ascription is heard and taken as testimony. And indeed it has these consequences even when the ascription is (...)
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  12. Epistemic Utility and the Normativity of Logic.Richard Pettigrew - 2017 - Logos and Episteme 8 (4):455-492.
    How does logic relate to rational belief? Is logic normative for belief, as some say? What, if anything, do facts about logical consequence tell us about norms of doxastic rationality? In this paper, we consider a range of putative logic-rationality bridge principles. These purport to relate facts about logical consequence to norms that govern the rationality of our beliefs and credences. To investigate these principles, we deploy a novel approach, namely, epistemic utility theory. That is, we assume that doxastic attitudes (...)
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  13. Accuracy-First Epistemology Without Additivity.Richard Pettigrew - 2022 - Philosophy of Science 89 (1):128-151.
    Accuracy arguments for the core tenets of Bayesian epistemology differ mainly in the conditions they place on the legitimate ways of measuring the inaccuracy of our credences. The best existing arguments rely on three conditions: Continuity, Additivity, and Strict Propriety. In this paper, I show how to strengthen the arguments based on these conditions by showing that the central mathematical theorem on which each depends goes through without assuming Additivity.
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  14. Pooling: A User's Guide.Richard Pettigrew & Jonathan Weisberg - manuscript
    We often learn the credences of others without getting to hear the evidence on which they’re based. And, in these cases, it is often unfeasible or overly onerous to update on this social evidence by conditionalizing on it. How, then, should we respond to it? We consider four methods for aggregating your credences with the credences of others: arithmetic, geometric, multiplicative, and harmonic pooling. Each performs well for some purposes and poorly for others. We describe these in Sections 1-4. In (...)
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  15. Transformative Experience and the Knowledge Norms for Action: Moss on Paul’s Challenge to Decision Theory.Richard Pettigrew - 2020 - In Becoming Someone New: Essays on Transformative Experience, Choice, and Change. New York, NY, USA:
    to appear in Lambert, E. and J. Schwenkler (eds.) Transformative Experience (OUP) -/- L. A. Paul (2014, 2015) argues that the possibility of epistemically transformative experiences poses serious and novel problems for the orthodox theory of rational choice, namely, expected utility theory — I call her argument the Utility Ignorance Objection. In a pair of earlier papers, I responded to Paul’s challenge (Pettigrew 2015, 2016), and a number of other philosophers have responded in similar ways (Dougherty, et al. 2015, Harman (...)
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  16. How Should Your Beliefs Change When Your Awareness Grows?Richard Pettigrew - manuscript
    Epistemologists who study partial beliefs, or credences, have a well-developed account of how you should change your credences when you learn new evidence; that is, when your body of evidence grows. What's more, they boast a diverse range of epistemic and pragmatic arguments that support that account. But they do not have a satisfactory account of when and how you should change your credences when you become aware of possibilities and propositions you have not entertained before; that is, when your (...)
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  17. Veritism, Epistemic Risk, and the Swamping Problem.Richard Pettigrew - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):761-774.
    Veritism says that the fundamental source of epistemic value for a doxastic state is the extent to which it represents the world correctly: that is, its fundamental epistemic value is deter...
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  18. Effective Altruism, Risk, and Human Extinction.Richard Pettigrew - manuscript
    A future in which humanity does not go extinct from something like a meteor strike or nuclear war might contain vast quantities of great happiness and human flourishing. But it might also contain vast quantities of great misery and wasted potential. Any effort to ensure a long happy future will have to strive both to ensure a long future, by reducing extinction risks, and to ensure it is a happy one, by improving the quality of life. Such an effort might (...)
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  19. Epistemic Risk and the Demands of Rationality.Richard Pettigrew - forthcoming - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    The short abstract: Epistemic utility theory + permissivism about attitudes to epistemic risk => permissivism about rational credences. The longer abstract: I argue that epistemic rationality is permissive. More specifically, I argue for two claims. First, a radical version of interpersonal permissivism about rational credence: for many bodies of evidence, there is a wide range of credal states for which there is some individual who might rationally adopt that state in response to that evidence. Second, a slightly less radical version (...)
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  20. Nudging for Changing Selves.Richard Pettigrew - manuscript
    When is it legitimate for a government to ‘nudge’ its citizens, in the sense described by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (Thaler & Sustein 2008)? In their original work on the topic, Thaler and Sunstein developed the ‘as judged by themselves‘ (or AJBT) test to answer this question (5, Thaler & Sunstein 2008). In a recent paper, L. A. Paul and Sunstein (Paul & Sunstein ms) raised a concern about this test: it often seems to give the wrong answer in (...)
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  21. What We Talk About When We Talk About Numbers.Richard Pettigrew - 2018 - Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 169 (12):1437-1456.
    In this paper, I describe and motivate a new species of mathematical structuralism, which I call Instrumental Nominalism about Set-Theoretic Structuralism. As the name suggests, this approach takes standard Set-Theoretic Structuralism of the sort championed by Bourbaki and removes its ontological commitments by taking an instrumental nominalist approach to that ontology of the sort described by Joseph Melia and Gideon Rosen. I argue that this avoids all of the problems that plague other versions of structuralism.
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  22. Aggregating Agents with Opinions About Different Propositions.Richard Pettigrew - manuscript
    There are many reasons we might want to take the opinions of various individuals and pool them to give the opinions of the group they constitute. If all the individuals in the group have probabilistic opinions about the same propositions, there is a host of pooling functions we might deploy, such as linear or geometric pooling. However, there are also cases where different members of the group assign probabilities to different sets of propositions, which might overlap a lot, a little, (...)
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  23. Autonomy for Changing Selves.Richard Pettigrew - manuscript
    For the Routledge Handbook of Autonomy (edited by Ben Colburn) -/- Our values change. What we value, want, desire, prefer, and how much; for nearly everyone, these will be different at different times in their life. These changes can be gradual or abrupt; they can be long-lasting or short-lived; and they can be induced by forces outside yourself or they can come from within or they can have no specific catalyst at all. Such preference change raises a number of questions (...)
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  24. Formal Methods.Richard Pettigrew - manuscript
    (This is for the Cambridge Handbook of Analytic Philosophy, edited by Marcus Rossberg) In this handbook entry, I survey the different ways in which formal mathematical methods have been applied to philosophical questions throughout the history of analytic philosophy. I consider: formalization in symbolic logic, with examples such as Aquinas’ third way and Anselm’s ontological argument; Bayesian confirmation theory, with examples such as the fine-tuning argument for God and the paradox of the ravens; foundations of mathematics, with examples such as (...)
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  25. Radical Epistemology, Structural Explanations, and Epistemic Weaponry.Richard Pettigrew - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (1):289-304.
    When is a belief justified? There are three families of arguments we typically use to support different accounts of justification: arguments from our intuitive responses to vignettes that involve the concept; arguments from the theoretical role we would like the concept to play in epistemology; and arguments from the practical, moral, and political uses to which we wish to put the concept. I focus particularly on the third sort, and specifically on arguments of this sort offered by Clayton Littlejohn in (...)
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