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Justifying the Principle of Indifference

Williamson, Jon (2018) Justifying the Principle of Indifference. European Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 8 . pp. 559-586. ISSN 1879-4920. (doi:10.1007/s13194-018-0201-0) (KAR id:66127)

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https://doi.org/10.1007/s13194-018-0201-0

Abstract

This paper presents a new argument for the Principle of Indifference. This argument can be thought of in two ways: as a pragmatic argument, justifying the principle as needing to hold if one is to minimise worst-case expected loss, or as an epistemic argument, justifying the principle as needing to hold in order to minimise worst-case expected inaccuracy. The question arises as to which interpretation is preferable. I show that the epistemic argument contradicts Evidentialism and suggest that the relative plausibility of Evidentialism provides grounds to prefer the pragmatic interpretation. If this is right, it extends to a general preference for pragmatic arguments for the Principle of Indifference, and also to a general preference for pragmatic arguments for other norms of Bayesian epistemology.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s13194-018-0201-0
Uncontrolled keywords: Principle of indifference, Bayesianism, Epistemic consequentialism, Accuracy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BC Logic
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Jon Williamson
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2018 16:38 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:53 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/66127 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Williamson, Jon: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0514-4209
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