Degrees of incoherence, Dutch bookability & guidance value

Jason P Konek *

*Corresponding author for this work

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

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Why is it good to be less, rather than more incoherent? Julia Staffel, in her excellent book “Unsettled Thoughts,” answers this question by showing that if your credences are incoherent, then there is some way of nudging them toward coherence that is guaranteed to make them more accurate and reduce the extent to which they areDutch-bookable. This seems to show that such a nudge toward coherence makes them better fit to play their key epistemic and practical roles: representing the world and guiding action. In this paper, I argue that Staffel’s strategy needs a small tweak.While she identifies appropriate measures of epistemic value, she does not identify appropriate measures of practical value. Staffel measures practical value using Dutch-bookability scores. But credences have practical value in virtue of recommending actions that produce as much utility as possible. And while susceptibility to a Dutch book is a surefire sign that one’s credences are needlessly bad at this task,one’s degree of Dutch-bookability is not itself a good measure of how well they recommend practically valuable actions. Strictly proper scoring rules, I argue, are the rig ht tools for measuring both epistemic and practical value. I show that we can rerun Staffel’s strategy swapping in strictly proper scoring rules for Dutch-bookability measures. So long as one’s epistemic scoring rule and practical scoring ruleare “sufficiently similar,” there is some way of nudging incoherent credences toward coherence that is guaranteed to yield more of both types of value.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages34
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2022


  • Incoherence
  • Dutch book
  • Guidance value
  • scoring rules
  • Staffel


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