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Susanna Rinard
Harvard University
  1. No Exception for Belief.Susanna Rinard - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (1):121-143.
    This paper defends a principle I call Equal Treatment, according to which the rationality of a belief is determined in precisely the same way as the rationality of any other state. For example, if wearing a raincoat is rational just in case doing so maximizes expected value, then believing some proposition P is rational just in case doing so maximizes expected value. This contrasts with the popular view that the rationality of belief is determined by evidential support. It also contrasts (...)
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  2. Reasoning One's Way Out of Skepticism.Susanna Rinard - forthcoming - In Brill Studies in Skepticism.
    Many have thought that it is impossible to rationally persuade an external world skeptic that we have knowledge of the external world. This paper aims to show how this could be done. I argue, while appealing only to premises that a skeptic could accept, that it is not rational to believe external world skepticism, because doing so commits one to more extreme forms of skepticism in a way that is self-undermining. In particular, the external world skeptic is ultimately committed to (...)
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  3. Why Philosophy Can Overturn Common Sense.Susanna Rinard - 2013 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology Volume 4. Oxford University Press. pp. 185.
    In part one I present a positive argument for the claim that philosophical argument can rationally overturn common sense. It is widely agreed that science can overturn common sense. But every scientific argument, I argue, relies on philosophical assumptions. If the scientific argument succeeds, then its philosophical assumptions must be more worthy of belief than the common sense proposition under attack. But this means there could be a philosophical argument against common sense, each of whose premises is just as worthy (...)
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  4. Against the New Evidentialists.Susanna Rinard - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):208-223.
    Evidentialists and Pragmatists about reasons for belief have long been in dialectical stalemate. However, recent times have seen a new wave of Evidentialists who claim to provide arguments for their view which should be persuasive even to someone initially inclined toward Pragmatism. This paper reveals a central flaw in this New Evidentialist project: their arguments rely on overly demanding necessary conditions for a consideration to count as a genuine reason. In particular, their conditions rule out the possibility of pragmatic reasons (...)
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  5. Believing for Practical Reasons.Susanna Rinard - 2018 - Noûs.
    Some prominent evidentialists argue that practical considerations cannot be normative reasons for belief because they can’t be motivating reasons for belief. Existing pragmatist responses turn out to depend on the assumption that it’s possible to believe in the absence of evidence. The evidentialist may deny this, at which point the debate ends in an impasse. I propose a new strategy for the pragmatist. This involves conceding that belief in the absence of evidence is impossible. We then argue that evidence can (...)
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  6. Against Radical Credal Imprecision.Susanna Rinard - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):157-165.
    A number of Bayesians claim that, if one has no evidence relevant to a proposition P, then one's credence in P should be spread over the interval [0, 1]. Against this, I argue: first, that it is inconsistent with plausible claims about comparative levels of confidence; second, that it precludes inductive learning in certain cases. Two motivations for the view are considered and rejected. A discussion of alternatives leads to the conjecture that there is an in-principle limitation on formal representations (...)
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  7. A New Bayesian Solution to the Paradox of the Ravens.Susanna Rinard - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (1):81-100.
    The canonical Bayesian solution to the ravens paradox faces a problem: it entails that black non-ravens disconfirm the hypothesis that all ravens are black. I provide a new solution that avoids this problem. On my solution, black ravens confirm that all ravens are black, while non-black non-ravens and black non-ravens are neutral. My approach is grounded in certain relations of epistemic dependence, which, in turn, are grounded in the fact that the kind raven is more natural than the kind black. (...)
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  8. Equal Treatment for Belief.Susanna Rinard - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1923-1950.
    This paper proposes that the question “What should I believe?” is to be answered in the same way as the question “What should I do?,” a view I call Equal Treatment. After clarifying the relevant sense of “should,” I point out advantages that Equal Treatment has over both simple and subtle evidentialist alternatives, including versions that distinguish what one should believe from what one should get oneself to believe. I then discuss views on which there is a distinctively epistemic sense (...)
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  9. Pragmatic Skepticism.Susanna Rinard - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Pragmatic responses to skepticism have been overlooked in recent decades. This paper explores one such response by developing a character called the Pragmatic Skeptic. The Pragmatic Skeptic accepts skeptical arguments for the claim that we lack good evidence for our ordinary beliefs, and that they do not constitute knowledge. However, they do not think we should give up our beliefs in light of these skeptical conclusions. Rather, we should retain them, since we have good practical reasons for doing so. This (...)
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  10. Imprecise Probability and Higher Order Vagueness.Susanna Rinard - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (2):257-273.
    There is a trade-off between specificity and accuracy in existing models of belief. Descriptions of agents in the tripartite model, which recognizes only three doxastic attitudes—belief, disbelief, and suspension of judgment—are typically accurate, but not sufficiently specific. The orthodox Bayesian model, which requires real-valued credences, is perfectly specific, but often inaccurate: we often lack precise credences. I argue, first, that a popular attempt to fix the Bayesian model by using sets of functions is also inaccurate, since it requires us to (...)
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  11. The Principle of Indifference and Imprecise Probability.Susanna Rinard - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (2):110-114.
    Sometimes different partitions of the same space each seem to divide that space into propositions that call for equal epistemic treatment. Famously, equal treatment in the form of equal point-valued credence leads to incoherence. Some have argued that equal treatment in the form of equal interval-valued credence solves the puzzle. This paper shows that, once we rule out intervals with extreme endpoints, this proposal also leads to incoherence.
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