Epistemic Conservativity and Imprecise Credence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Abstract

Unspecific evidence calls for imprecise credence. My aim is to vindicate this thought. First, I will pin down what it is that makes one’s imprecise credences more or less epistemically valuable. Then I will use this account of epistemic value to delineate a class of reasonable epistemic scoring rules for imprecise credences. Finally, I will show that if we plump for one of these scoring rules as our measure of epistemic value or utility, then a popular family of decision rules recommend imprecise credences. In particular, a range of Hurwicz criteria, which generalise the Maximin decision rule, recommend imprecise credences. If correct, the moral is this: an agent who adopts precise credences, rather than imprecise ones, in the face of unspecific and incomplete evidence, goes wrong by gambling with the epistemic utility of her doxastic state in too risky a fashion. Precise credences represent an overly risky epistemic bet, according to the Hurwicz criteria.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Feb 2015

Keywords

  • Imprecise Credence
  • Epistemic Utility
  • Risk Aversion
  • Hurwicz Criterion

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