How Uncertain Do We Need to Be?

Williamson, Jon (2014) How Uncertain Do We Need to Be? Erkenntnis, 79 (6). pp. 1249-1271. ISSN 0165-0106. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10670-013-9516-6) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10670-013-9516-6

Abstract

Expert probability forecasts can be useful for decision making (Sect. 1). But levels of uncertainty escalate: however the forecaster expresses the uncertainty that attaches to a forecast, there are good reasons for her to express a further level of uncertainty, in the shape of either imprecision or higher order uncertainty (Sect. 2). Bayesian epistemology provides the means to halt this escalator, by tying expressions of uncertainty to the propositions expressible in an agent’s language (Sect. 3). But Bayesian epistemology comes in three main varieties. Strictly subjective Bayesianism and empirically-based subjective Bayesianism have difficulty in justifying the use of a forecaster’s probabilities for decision making (Sect. 4). On the other hand, objective Bayesianism can justify the use of these probabilities, at least when the probabilities are consistent with the agent’s evidence (Sect. 5). Hence objective Bayesianism offers the most promise overall for explaining how testimony of uncertainty can be useful for decision making. Interestingly, the objective Bayesian analysis provided in Sect. 5 can also be used to justify a version of the Principle of Reflection (Sect. 6).

Item Type: Article
Additional information: Open Access Published online September 2013.; number of additional authors: 0;
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BC Logic
Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA273 Probabilities
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Philosophy
Depositing User: Jon Williamson
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2014 15:44 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2016 15:55 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/44005 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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