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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 December 2016


According to the so-called ‘deliberation crowds out prediction’ thesis, while deliberating about what you'll do, you cannot rationally have credences for what you'll do – you cannot rationally have option-credences. Versions of the thesis have been defended by authors such as Spohn, Levi, Gilboa, Price, Louise, and others. After registering a number of concerns about the thesis, I rehearse and rebut many of the main arguments for it, grouped according to their main themes: agency, vacuity, betting, and decision-theoretical considerations. I go on to suggest many possible theoretical roles for option-credences.

I locate the debate about the thesis in a broader discussion: Are there rational credence gaps – propositions to which one cannot rationally assign credences? If there are, they spell trouble for various foundations of Bayesian epistemology, including the usual ratio formula for conditional probability, conditionalization, decision theory, and independence. According to the thesis, credence gaps are completely mundane; they arise every time someone rationally deliberates. But these foundations are safe from any threat here, I contend, since the thesis is false. Deliberation welcomes prediction.

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