An Improper Introduction to Epistemic Utility Theory

  • Richard Pettigrew
Conference paper
Part of the The European Philosophy of Science Association Proceedings book series (EPSP, volume 1)


In epistemic utility theory, we apply the tools of decision theory to justify epistemic norms. We treat the possible epistemic states of an agent as if they were epistemic actions between which she must choose. And we ask how we should measure the purely epistemic utility of being in such a state. We then apply the general apparatus of decision theory to determine which epistemic states are rational in a given situation from a purely epistemic point of view; and how our epistemic states should evolve over time. In this paper, I survey recent attempts to justify the tenets of Bayesian epistemology by appealing to epistemic utility theory. And I raise objections to arguments based on the technical notion of propriety.


Epistemic State Credence Function Epistemic Norm Dutch Book Maximize Expect Utility 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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