Probabilism is the view that a rational agent's credences should always be probabilistically coherent. It has been argued that Probabilism follows, given the assumption that an epistemically rational agent ought to try to have credences that represent the world as accurately as possible. The key claim in this argument is that the goal of representing the world as accurately as possible is best served by having credences that are probabilistically coherent. This essay shows that this claim is false. In certain (...) cases, the goal of having accurate credences is best served by being probabilistically incoherent. Assuming that an epistemically rational agent ought to try to have credences that are as accurate as possible, it follows that in certain cases a rational agent ought to have probabilistically incoherent credences. (shrink)
An attractive approach to the semantic paradoxes holds that cases of semantic pathology give rise to indeterminacy. What attitude should a rational agent have toward a proposition that it takes to be indeterminate in this sense? Orthodoxy holds that rationality requires that an agent disbelieve such a proposition. I argue that a rational agent should be such that it is indeterminate whether it believes the proposition in question. For rational agents, indeterminacy in the objects of their attitudes will filter up (...) to the attitudes themselves. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider how, given mutual knowledge of the information codified in a compositional semantic theory, an assertion of a sentence serves to update the shared information in a conversation. There is a standard account, due to Stalnaker, of how such conversational updating occurs. While this account has much to recommend it, in this paper I argue that it needs to be revised in light of certain patterns of updating that result from certain natural discourses. Having argued for (...) this, I present a new account of conversational updating that can be seen as a natural generalization of the standard account, and show how it can predict these patterns in a simple and principled manner. (shrink)
I argue, pace Timothy Williamson, that one cannot provide an adequate account of what it is for a case to be borderline by appealing to facts about our inability to discriminate our actual situation from nearby counterfactual situations in which our language use differs in subtle ways. I consider the two most natural ways of using such resources to provide an account of what it is for a case to be borderline and argue that both face crippling defects. I argue (...) that the problems faced by these two accounts point to more general reasons to be skeptical of the claim that facts about semantic indiscriminability provide sufficient resources for an analysis of what it is for a case to be borderline. (shrink)
I consider a puzzling case presented by Jose Benardete, and by appeal to this case develop a paradox involving counterfactual conditionals. I then show that this paradox may be leveraged to argue for certain non-obvious claims concerning the logic of counterfactuals.
In this article, I consider what sorts of chance credence norms can be justified by appeal to the idea that ideal credences should line up with the chances. I argue that the Principal Principle cannot be so justified but that an alternative norm, the Temporal Principle—which maintains that an agent’s credence in a proposition ϕ, conditional on the temporal proposition that says that the chance of ϕ is x, should be x—can be so justified.
In this paper, I argue that some plausible principles concerning which credences are rationally permissible for agents given information about one another’s epistemic and credal states have some surprising consequences for which credences an agent ought to have in light of self-locating information. I provide a framework that allows us to state these constraints and draw out these consequences precisely. I then consider and assess the prospects for rejecting these prima facie plausible principles.
Systems ofillative logicare logical calculi formulated in the untypedλ-calculus supplemented with certain logical constants.1In this short paper, I consider a paradox that arises in illative logic. I note two prima facie attractive ways of resolving the paradox. The first is well known to be consistent, and I briefly outline a now standard construction used by Scott and Aczel that establishes this. The second, however, has been thought to be inconsistent. I show that this isn’t so, by providing a nonempty class (...) of models that establishes its consistency. I then provide an illative logic which is sound and complete for this class of models. I close by briefly noting some attractive features of the second resolution of this paradox. (shrink)