Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 23–37 | Cite as

Sleeping Beauty in a grain of rice

  • David HaigEmail author


In the Sleeping Beauty problem, Beauty is woken once if a coin lands heads or twice if the coin lands tails but promptly forgets each waking on returning to sleep. Philosophers have divided over whether her waking credence in heads should be a half or a third. Beauty has centered beliefs about her world and about her location in that world. When given new information about her location she should update her worldly beliefs before updating her locative beliefs. When she conditionalizes in this way, her credence in heads is a half before and after being told it is Monday. In applications of Dutch Book arguments to the Sleeping Beauty problem, the probability of a particular outcome has often been confounded with consequences of that outcome. Heads and tails are equally likely but twice as much is at stake if the coin falls tails because Beauty is fated to make the same choice twice. As a consequence, the possibility of tails should be given twice the weight of the possibility of heads when deciding whether to bet on heads even though heads and tails are equally likely.


Sleeping Beauty Hamilton’s rule Credence Relatedness Endosperm Conditionalization De se beliefs 



Lucas Mix brought the Sleeping Beauty problem to my attention. Carl Veller patiently explained thirder reasoning and critically read the manuscript. Ned Hall and the anonymous reviewers provided valuable input.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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