Philosophical Studies

, Volume 167, Issue 1, pp 119–139 | Cite as

A forward looking decision rule for imprecise credences

  • Rohan Sud


Adam Elga (Philosophers’ Imprint, 10(5), 1–11, 2010) presents a diachronic puzzle to supporters of imprecise credences and argues that no acceptable decision rule for imprecise credences can deliver the intuitively correct result. Elga concludes that agents should not hold imprecise credences. In this paper, I argue for a two-part thesis. First, I show that Elga’s argument is incomplete: there is an acceptable decision rule that delivers the intuitive result. Next, I repair the argument by offering a more elaborate diachronic puzzle that is more difficult for imprecise Bayesians to avoid.


Formal epistemology Decision theory Imprecise credences 



This paper has benefited greatly from conversations and comments from many friends and teachers. Thanks to Harjit Bhogal, Rachel Briggs, Lara Buchak, Tom Dougherty, James Joyce, Jason Konek, Leon Leontyev, Miquel Miralbes Del Pino, Miriam Schoenfield, Daniel Singer, Eric Swanson, and Brett Topey. Special thanks to Seamus Bradley, Dmitri Gallow, Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, Joshua Schechter, Sarah Moss, and Brian Weatherson. I am also grateful to audiences at the 2012 Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference, the 2012 Brown University Shapiro Graduate Philosophy Conference, the University of Pennsylvania and, especially, to participants of the Fifth Formal Epistemology Festival and the 2013 Bellingham Summer Philosophy Conference.


  1. Bradley, S., & Steele, K. (ms.). Subjective probabilities need not be sharp.Google Scholar
  2. Buchak, L. (forthcoming). Risk and rationality. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Chandler, J. (forthcoming). Subjective probabilities need not be sharp. Erkenntnis.Google Scholar
  4. Dorr, C. (2010). The eternal coin: A puzzle about self-locating conditional credence. Philosophical Perspectives, 24(1), 189–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Elga, A. (2010). Subjective probabilities should be sharp. Philosophers’ Imprint, 10(5), 1–11.Google Scholar
  6. Hedden, B. (ms.). Time-slice rationality.Google Scholar
  7. Hedden, B. (2013). Options and diachronic tragedy. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. doi: 10.1111/phpr.12048.
  8. Ismael, J. (2012). Decision and the open future. In Adrian B. (Ed.), The future of the philosophy of time (pp. 149–168). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Joyce, J. (2011). A defense of imprecise credences in inference and decision making. In T. S. Gendler & J. Hawthorne (Eds.), Oxford studies in epistemology (Vol. 4). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Kavka, G. S. (1983). The toxin puzzle. Analysis, 43(1), 33–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McClennen, E. F. (1990). Rationality and dynamic choice. Cambridge: Cambridge University PressCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Moss, S. (ms.). Credal dilemmas.Google Scholar
  13. Sahlin, N.-E., & Weirich, P. (2013). Unsharp sharpness. Theoria. doi: 10.1111/theo.12025.
  14. Weatherson, B. (ms. a). Decision making with imprecise probabilities.Google Scholar
  15. Weatherson, B. (ms. b). Lecture notes on game theory.Google Scholar
  16. Weisberg, J. (forthcoming). You’ve come a long way, Bayesians. Journal of Philosophical Logic.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

Personalised recommendations