Higher-Order Evidence and the Dynamics of Self-Location: An Accuracy-Based Argument for Calibrationism

Erkenntnis:1-27 (forthcoming)


The thesis that agents should calibrate their beliefs in the face of higher-order evidence—i.e., should adjust their first-order beliefs in response to evidence suggesting that the reasoning underlying those beliefs is faulty—is sometimes thought to be in tension with Bayesian approaches to belief update: in order to obey Bayesian norms, it's claimed, agents must remain steadfast in the face of higher-order evidence. But I argue that this claim is incorrect. In particular, I motivate a minimal constraint on a reasonable treatment of the evolution of self-locating beliefs over time and show that calibrationism is compatible with any generalized Bayesian approach that respects this constraint. I then use this result to argue that remaining steadfast isn't the response to higher-order evidence that maximizes expected accuracy.


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Author's Profile

Brett Topey
University of Salzburg

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Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
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Normative Externalism.Brian Weatherson - 2019 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Higher Order Evidence.David Christensen - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):185-215.

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Citations of this work

Best Laid Plans: Idealization and the Rationality–Accuracy Bridge.Brett Topey - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

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