Assessing the credence of Bayesian epistemology
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Why should our credences or degrees of belief obey the laws of probability? Why is it irrational to assign the proposition that Linda is a feminist and a bank teller higher probability than the proposition that she is a bank teller? More generally, if A entails B, why is it that the credence for B cannot “drop” below that of A? The traditional answer has been to appeal to our use of credences in practical action and the famous Dutch book argument. This is not the path taken in Richard Pettigrew’s fascinating new book on the subject. Rather, he proposes that we think more carefully about how our credences related to the epistemic goal of having accurate opinions. Underlying this is Pettigrew’s acceptance of “veritism”, the view that “the ultimate source of epistemic value is accuracy” (p. 19).
What accuracy means is easily understood in the context of full beliefs. A full belief is accurate just in case it is true. But how should we think about accuracy regarding degreesof belief? On...