, Volume 178, Issue 1, pp 67–85 | Cite as

Objective Bayesianism, Bayesian conditionalisation and voluntarism

  • Jon WilliamsonEmail author


Objective Bayesianism has been criticised on the grounds that objective Bayesian updating, which on a finite outcome space appeals to the maximum entropy principle, differs from Bayesian conditionalisation. The main task of this paper is to show that this objection backfires: the difference between the two forms of updating reflects negatively on Bayesian conditionalisation rather than on objective Bayesian updating. The paper also reviews some existing criticisms and justifications of conditionalisation, arguing in particular that the diachronic Dutch book justification fails because diachronic Dutch book arguments are subject to a reductio: in certain circumstances one can Dutch book an agent however she changes her degrees of belief. One may also criticise objective Bayesianism on the grounds that its norms are not compulsory but voluntary, the result of a stance. It is argued that this second objection also misses the mark, since objective Bayesian norms are tied up in the very notion of degrees of belief.


Objective Bayesianism Bayesian epistemology Formal epistemology Maximum entropy Maxent Conditionalisation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, SECLUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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