Accuracy and Evidence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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In “A Nonpragmatic Vindication of Probabilism”, Jim Joyce argues that our credences should obey the axioms of the probability calculus by showing that, if they don't, there will be alternative credences that are guaranteed to be more accurate than ours. But it seems that accuracy is not the only goal of credences: there is also the goal of matching one's credences to one's evidence. I will consider four ways in which we might make this latter goal precise: on the first, the norms to which this goal gives rise act as ‘side constraints’ on our choice of credences; on the second, matching credences to evidence is a goal that is weighed against accuracy to give the overall cognitive value of credences; on the third, as on the second, proximity to the evidential goal and proximity to the goal of accuracy are both sources of value, but this time they are incomparable; on the fourth, the evidential goal is not an independent goal at all, but rather a byproduct of the goal of accuracy. All but the fourth way of making the evidential goal precise are pluralist about credal virtue: there is the virtue of being accurate and there is the virtue of matching the evidence and neither reduces to the other. The fourth way is monist about credal virtue: there is just the virtue of being accurate. The pluralist positions lead to problems for Joyce's argument; the monist position avoids them. I endorse the latter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-596
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Early online date14 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2014


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