Perceptual Confidence is the view that perceptual experiences assign degrees of confidence. After introducing, clarifying, and motivating Perceptual Confidence, I catalogue some of its more interesting consequences, such as the way it blurs the distinction between veridical and illusory experiences, a distinction that is sometimes said to carry a lot of metaphysical weight. I also explain how Perceptual Confidence fills a hole in our best scientific theories of perception and why it implies that experiences don't have (...) objective accuracy conditions. (shrink)
Should learning we disagree about p lead you to reduce confidence in p? Some who think so want to except beliefs in which you are rationally highly confident. I argue that this is wrong; we should reject accounts that rely on this intuitive thought. I then show that quite the opposite holds: factors that justify low confidence in p also make disagreement about p less significant. I examine two such factors: your antecedent expectations about your peers’ opinions and (...) the difficulty of evaluating your evidence. I close by proposing a different way of thinking about disagreement. (shrink)
We advocate and develop a states-based semantics for both nominal and adjectival confidence reports, as in "Ann is confident/has confidence that it's raining", and their comparatives "Ann is more confident/has more confidence that it's raining than that it's snowing". Other examples of adjectives that can report confidence include "sure" and "certain". Our account adapts Wellwood's account of adjectival comparatives in which the adjectives denote properties of states, and measure functions are introduced compositionally. We further explore the (...) prospects of applying these tools to the semantics of probability operators. We emphasize three desirable and novel features of our semantics: (i) probability claims only exploit qualitative resources unless there is explicit compositional pressure for quantitative resources; (ii) the semantics applies to both probabilistic adjectives (e.g., "likely") and probabilistic nouns (e.g., "probability"); (iii) the semantics can be combined with an account of belief reports that allows thinkers to have incoherent probabilistic beliefs (e.g. thinking that A & B is more likely than A) even while validating the relevant purely probabilistic claims (e.g. validating the claim that A & B is never more likely than A). Finally, we explore the interaction between confidence-reporting discourse (e.g., "I am confident that...") and belief-reports about probabilistic discourse (e.g.,"I think it's likely that.."). (shrink)
This article reports four subliminal perception experiments using the relationship between confidence and accuracy to assess awareness. Subjects discriminated among stimuli and indicated their confidence in each discrimination response. Subjects were classified as being aware of the stimuli if their confidence judgments predicted accuracy and as being unaware if they did not. In the first experiment, confidence predicted accuracy even at stimulus durations so brief that subjects claimed to be performing at chance. This finding indicates that (...) subjects's claims that they are ''just guessing'' should not be accepted as sufficient evidence that they are completely unaware of the stimuli. Experiments 2-4 tested directly for subliminal perception by comparing the minimum exposure duration needed for better than chance discrimination performance against the minimum needed for confidence to predict accuracy. The latter durations were slightly but significantly longer, suggesting that under certain circumstances people can make perceptual discriminations even though the information that was used to make those discriminations is not consciously available. (shrink)
What kind of content must visual states have if they are to offer direct justification for our external world beliefs? How must they present that content if the degree of justification they provide is to reflect the nuance of our changing visual experiences? This paper offers an argument for the view that visual states comprise not only a content, but a confidence relation to that content. This confidence relation lets us explain how visual states can offer noninferential perceptual (...) justification of differing degrees for external world beliefs. These confidence relations let visual states justify beliefs in a way that is sensitive to subtle differences in the character of our visual experiences, while still allowing that visual states give us direct access to the external world in virtue of their content. (shrink)
The idea of a common currency underlying our choice behaviour has played an important role in sciences of behaviour, from neurobiology to psychology and economics. However, while it has been mainly investigated in terms of values, with a common scale on which goods would be evaluated and compared, the question of a common scale for subjective probabilities and confidence in particular has received only little empirical investigation so far. The present study extends previous work addressing this question, by showing (...) that confidence can be compared across visual and auditory decisions, with the same precision as for the comparison of two trials within the same task. We discuss the possibility that confidence could serve as a common currency when describing our choices to ourselves and to others. others. (shrink)
In “Perceptual Confidence,” I argue that our perceptual experiences assign degrees of confidence. In “Precision, not Confidence, Describes the Uncertainty of Perceptual Experience,” Rachel Denison disagrees. In this reply I first clarify what i mean by ‘perceptual experiences’, ‘assign’ and ‘confidence’. I then argue, contra Denison, that perception involves automatic categorization, and that there is an intrinsic difference between a blurry perception of a sharp image and a sharp perception of a blurry image. -/- .
A mental state is luminous if, whenever an agent is in that state, they are in a position to know that they are. Following Timothy Williamson’s Knowledge and Its Limits, a wave of recent work has explored whether there are any non-trivial luminous mental states. A version of Williamson’s anti-luminosity appeals to a safety- theoretic principle connecting knowledge and confidence: if an agent knows p, then p is true in any nearby scenario where she has a similar level of (...)confidence in p. However, the relevant notion of confidence is relatively underexplored. This paper develops a precise theory of confidence: an agent’s degree of confidence in p is the objective chance they will rely on p in practical reasoning. This theory of confidence is then used to critically evaluate the anti-luminosity argument, leading to the surprising conclusion that although there are strong reasons for thinking that luminosity does not obtain, they are quite different from those the existing literature has considered. In particular, we show that once the notion of confidence is properly understood, the failure of luminosity follows from the assumption that knowledge requires high confidence, and does not require any kind of safety principle as a premise. (shrink)
Many policy decisions take input from collections of scientific models. Such decisions face significant and often poorly understood uncertainty. We rework the so-called confidence approach to tackle decision-making under severe uncertainty with multiple models, and we illustrate the approach with a case study: insurance pricing using hurricane models. The confidence approach has important consequences for this case and offers a powerful framework for a wide class of problems. We end by discussing different ways in which model ensembles can (...) feed information into the approach, appropriate to different collections of models. (shrink)
John Morrison has argued that confidences are assigned in perceptual experience. For example, when you perceive a figure in the distance, your experience might assign a 55-percent confidence to the figure’s being Isaac. Morrison’s argument leans on the phenomenon of ‘completely trusting your experience’. I argue that Morrison presupposes a problematic ‘importation model’ of this familiar phenomenon, and propose a very different way of thinking about it. While the article’s official topic is whether confidences are assigned in perceptual experience, (...) it is also about two more general issues: how we can determine which properties are assigned in perceptual experience; and how we transition from perception to belief. (shrink)
Consciousness and confidence seem intimately related. Accordingly, some researchers use confidence ratings as a measure of, or proxy for, consciousness. Rosenthal discusses the potential connections between the two, and rejects confidence as a valid measure of consciousness. He argues that there are better alternatives to get at conscious experiences such as direct subjective reports of awareness (i.e. subjects’ reports of perceiving something or of the degree of visibility of a stimulus). In this chapter, we offer a different (...) perspective. Confidence ratings in general, and metacognitive measures in particular, may offer important advantages over subjective ratings. The arguments we offer here are supported by empirical, practical and socio-strategic considerations. However, we do not suggest consciousness and confidence are interchangeable. We recognize the limitations of confidence ratings in some experimental designs and for some research questions. Nevertheless, we also address a potential conceptual link between consciousness and confidence that stems from Rosenthal’s very own work on mental quality space theory. (shrink)
The so-called “conciliatory” norm in epistemology and meta-ethics requires that an agent, upon encountering peer disagreement with her judgment, lower her confidence about that judgment. But whether agents actually abide by this norm is unclear. Although confidence is excessively researched in the empirical sciences, possible effects of disagreement on confidence have been understudied. Here, we target this lacuna, reporting a study that measured confidence about moral beliefs before and after exposure to moral discourse about a controversial (...) issue. Our findings indicate that participants do not abide by the conciliatory norm. Neither do they conform to a rival “steadfast” norm that demands their confidence to remain the same. Instead, moral discourse seems to boost confidence. Interestingly, we also find a confidence boost for factual beliefs, and a correlation between the extremity of moral views and confidence. One possible explanation of our findings is that when engaging in moral discourse participants become more extreme in their opinions, which leads them to become more confident about them, or vice versa: they become more confident and in turn more extreme. Although our work provides initial evidence for the former mechanism, further research is needed for a better understanding of confidence and moral discourse. (shrink)
Carruthers' arguments depend on a tenuous interpretation of cases from the confabulation literature. Specifically, Carruthers maintains that cases of confabulation are from cases of alleged introspection. However, in typical cases of confabulation, the self-attributions are characterized by low confidence, in contrast to cases of alleged introspection.
In this paper, I propose a Husserlian account of perceptual confidence, and argue for perceptual confidence by appeal to the self-justification of perceptual experiences. Perceptual confidence is the intriguing view, recently developed by John Morrison, that there are not just doxastic confidences but also perceptual confidences, i.e., confidences as aspect of perceptual experience, enabling us to account, e.g., for the increasing confidence with which we experience an approaching human figure, while telling ourselves, as the viewing distance (...) diminishes, “It looks like this just could be Isaac”, “It looks like this is probably Isaac”, “It looks like this is almost certainly Isaac”. I first present my Husserlian account with a focus on the notion of fulfillment, and the idea that the contents of perceptual experience are fulfillment conditions. I then show that this account can be complemented by PC. Finally, I develop a focus on the idea of perceptual self-justification, diverting the perceptual confidence debate from its pre-eminent concern with the relations between perceptual and doxastic confidences, and present an argument to the effect that there are perceptual confidences. (shrink)
Self-confidence is associated with many positive outcomes, and training programs routinely seek to build participants’ self-efficacy. In this article, however, we consider whether self-confidence increases unethical behavior. In a series of studies, we explore the relationship between negotiator self-efficacy—an individual’s confidence in his or her negotiation ability—and the use of deception. We find that individuals high in negotiator self-efficacy are more likely to use deception than individuals low in negotiator self-efficacy. We also find that perceptions of the (...) risk of deception mediate this relationship. By identifying negotiator self-efficacy as an antecedent to unethical behavior, our findings offer important theoretical and empirical insights into the use of deception, the role of individual differences in ethical decision making, and the broader consequences of self-confidence in business and society. (shrink)
Epistemic minimalism affirms that mere true belief is sufficient for propositional knowledge. I construct a taxonomy of some specific forms of minimalism and locate within that taxonomy the distinct positions of various advocates of minimalism, including Alvin Goldman, Jaakko Hintikka, Crispin Sartwell, Wolfgang Lenzen, Franz von Kutschera, and others. I weigh generic minimalism against William Lycan’s objection that minimalism is incompatible with plausible principles about relations between knowledge, belief, and confidence. I argue that Lycan’s objection fails for equivocation but (...) that some specific forms of minimalism are better able than others to articulate that defense. (shrink)
Does having an initially high level of justified confidence in a belief vindicate remaining steadfast in the face of disagreement? According to one prominent view in the literature, namely Jennifer Lackey's justificationist position, the answer is yes so long as one also has personal information that provides a symmetry-breaker. In this article, I raise a problem for the justificationist view. On the most straightforward reading of the justificationist position, personal information always provides a symmetry-breaker in a peer dispute over (...) a belief in which one has high justified confidence. However, this position is implausibly strong because it renders epistemically permissible a dogmatic attitude in a relevant set of peer disagreements. Alternatively, weaker readings of the view fail to provide a perspicuous account of when high justified confidence matters in a disagreement. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the relationship of virtue, argumentation, and philosophical conduct by considering the role of the specific virtue of intellectual humility in the practice of philosophical argumentation. I have three aims: first, to sketch an account of this virtue; second, to argue that it can be cultivated by engaging in argumentation with others; and third, to problematize this claim by drawing upon recent data from social psychology. My claim is that philosophical argumentation can be conducive to the (...) cultivation of virtues, including humility, but only if it is conceived and practiced in appropriately ‘edifying’ ways. (shrink)
Knowledge graphs entity typing aims to predict the potential types to an entity, that is,. Recently, several embedding models are proposed for KG entity types prediction according to the existing typing information of the tuples in KGs. However, most of them unreasonably assume that all existing entity typing instances in KGs are completely correct, which ignore the nonnegligible entity type noises and may lead to potential errors for the downstream tasks. To address this problem, we propose ConfE, a novel (...) class='Hi'>confidence-aware embedding approach for modeling the tuples, which takes tuple confidence into consideration for learning better embeddings. Specifically, we learn the embeddings of entities and entity types in separate entity space and entity type space since they are different objects in KGs. We utilize an asymmetric matrix to specify the interaction of their embeddings and incorporate the tuple confidence as well. To make the tuple confidence more universal, we consider only the internal structural information in existing KGs. We evaluate our model on two tasks, including entity type noise detection and entity type prediction. The extensive experimental results in two public benchmark datasets demonstrate that our proposed model outperforms all baselines on all tasks, which verify the effectiveness of ConfE in learning better embeddings on noisy KGs. The source code and data of this work can be obtained from https://github.com/swufenlp/ConfE. (shrink)
In this paper, I present and defend a novel account of doubt. In Part 1, I make some preliminary observations about the nature of doubt. In Part 2, I introduce a new puzzle about the relationship between three psychological states: doubt, belief, and confidence. I present this puzzle because my account of doubt emerges as a possible solution to it. Lastly, in Part 3, I elaborate on and defend my account of doubt. Roughly, one has doubt if and only (...) if one believes one might be wrong; I argue that this is superior to the account that says that one has doubt if and only if one has less than the highest degree of confidence. (shrink)
Philosophers commonly define knowledge as justified true beliefs. A heated debate exists, however, about what makes a belief justified. In this article, we examine the question of belief justification from a psychological perspective, focusing on the subjective confidence in a belief that the person has just formed. Participants decided whether to accept or reject a proposition depicting a social belief, and indicated their confidence in their choice. The task was repeated six times, and choice latency was measured. The (...) results were analyzed within a Self-Consistency Model of subjective confidence. According to SCM, the decision to accept or reject a proposition is based on the on-line sampling of representations from a pool of representations associated with the proposition. Respondents behave like intuitive statisticians who infer the central tendency of a population based on a small sample. Confidence depends on the consistency with which the belief was supported across the sampled representations, and reflects the likelihood that a new sample will yield the same decision. The results supported the assumption of a commonly shared population of representations associated with each proposition. Based on this assumption, analyses of within-person consistency and cross-person consensus provided support for the model. As expected, choices that deviated from the person’s own modal judgment or from the consensually held judgment took relatively longer to form and were associated with relatively lower confidence, presumably because they were based on non-representative samples. The results were discussed in relation to major epistemological theories – foundationalism, coherentism and reliabilism. (shrink)
The emphasis of systems and synthetic biology on quantitative understanding of biological objects and their eventual re-design has raised the question of whether description and construction standards that are commonplace in electric and mechanical engineering are applicable to live systems. The tuning of genetic devices to deliver a given activity is generally context-dependent, thereby undermining the re-usability of parts, and predictability of function, necessary for manufacturing new biological objects. Tolerance and allowance are key aspects of standardization that need to be (...) brought to biological design. These should endow functional building blocks with a pre-specified level of confidence for bespoke biosystems engineering. However, in the absence of more fundamental knowledge, fine-tuning necessarily relies on evolutionary/combinatorial gravitation toward a fixed objective. (shrink)
In this contribution to Text Matters, I would like to introduce gender into my feminist response to Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutic phenomenology of the capable subject. The aim is to make, phenomenologically speaking, “visible” the gendering of this subject in a hermeneutic problematic: that of a subject’s loss of confidence in her own ability to understand herself. Ricoeurian hermeneutics enables us to elucidate the generally hidden dimensions in a phenomenology of lost self-confidence; Ricoeur describes capability as “originally given” to (...) each lived body; but then, something has happened, gone wrong or been concealed in one’s loss of confidence. Ricoeur himself does not ask how the gender or sex of one’s own body affects this loss. So I draw on contemporary feminist debates about the phenomenology of the body, as well as Julia Kristeva’s hermeneutics of the Antigone figure, in order to demonstrate how women might reconfigure the epistemic limits of human capability, revealing themselves as “a horizon” of the political order, for better or worse. (shrink)
We argue that social deliberation may increase an agent’s confidence and credence under certain circumstances. An agent considers a proposition H and assigns a probability to it. However, she is not fully confident that she herself is reliable in this assignment. She then endorses H during deliberation with another person, expecting him to raise serious objections. To her surprise, however, the other person does not raise any objections to H. How should her attitudes toward H change? It seems plausible (...) that she should increase the credence she assigns to H and, at the same time, increase the reliability she assigns to herself concerning H. A Bayesian model helps us to investigate under what conditions, if any, this is rational. (shrink)
Climate model projections are used to inform policy decisions and constitute a major focus of climate research. Confidence in climate projections relies on the adequacy of climate models for those projections. The question of how to argue for the adequacy of models for climate projections has not gotten sufficient attention in the climate modelling community. The most common way to evaluate a climate model is to assess in a quantitative way degrees of “model fit”; i.e., how well model results (...) fit observation-based data (empirical accuracy) and agree with other models or model versions (robustness). However, such assessments are largely silent about what those degrees of fit imply for a model’s adequacy for projecting future climate. We provide a conceptual framework for discussing the evaluation of the adequacy of models for climate projections. Drawing on literature from philosophy of science and climate science, we discuss the potential and limits of inferences from model fit. We suggest that support of a model by background knowledge is an additional consideration that can be appealed to in arguments for a model’s adequacy for long-term projections, and that this should explicitly be spelled out. Empirical accuracy, robustness and support by background knowledge neither individually nor collectively constitute sufficient conditions in a strict sense for a model’s adequacy for long-term projections. However, they provide reasons that can be strengthened by additional information and thus contribute to a complex non-deductive argument for the adequacy of a climate model or a family of models for long-term climate projections. (shrink)
Religious communities that speak of faith typically affirm the ideal of a highly confident faith. If we understand confidence in terms of the quality of assent to faith-claims, however, it is difficult to reconcile a high degree of confidence with intellectual virtue. As an alternative, I propose to construe confident faith as a kind of trusting perception. The sort of confidence that I envision here makes sense as a religious ideal. In addition it leaves room for the (...) recognition of epistemic risk needed for intellectual humility as well as for the kind of openness to revising the content of faith in the light of relevant evidential considerations that intellectual integrity demands. Furthermore, someone with this type of confidence can find a particular faith compelling, while also acknowledging some faiths that make conflicting claims to be reasonable options. (shrink)
When someone presents an argument on a charged topic and it is alleged that the arguer has a strong personal interest and investment in the conclusion, the allegation, directed to the reception or evaluation of the argument, typically gives rise to two seemingly conflicting reactions:I. The allegation is an unwarranted diversion. The prejudices or biases of the arguer are irrelevant to the cogency of the argument. In particular, it is a distraction from the crucial judgment of whether the argument is (...) cogent to press the question of whether the arguer truly holds his conclusion on the grounds that he offers, or whether he believes it on some illicit or suspect basis. (shrink)
We provide a new account of the oft-mentioned special character of touch, showing that its superior reliability is subjective rather than objective : Touch provides higher certainty than vision, for the same level of objective accuracy.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has developed a novel framework for assessing and communicating uncertainty in the findings published in their periodic assessment reports. But how should these uncertainty assessments inform decisions? We take a formal decision-making perspective to investigate how scientific input formulated in the IPCC’s novel framework might inform decisions in a principled way through a normative decision model.
The metamemory approach to memory confidence was extended and elaborated to deal with semantic memory tasks. The metamemory approach assumes that memory confidence is based on the products and processes of a completed memory task, as well as metamemory beliefs that individuals have about how their memory products and processes relate to memory accuracy. In two experiments participants were asked deceptive and nondeceptive questions involving geographical information. In both experiments, as predicted by the metamemory approach to memory (...) class='Hi'>confidence, there was a positive confidence/ accuracy relationship for nondeceptive items and a negative relationship for deceptive items. Experiment 2 used items that constrained the memory strategies (e.g., hierarchical reasoning about spatial location) used by the participants. The results supported the hypothesis that the participants were aware of the levels of memory accuracy associated with the different strategies and used that information to generate their memory confidence judgments. (shrink)