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SHOULD SUBJECTIVE PROBABILITIES BE SHARP?

Abstract
Abstract

There has been much recent interest in imprecise probabilities, models of belief that allow unsharp or fuzzy credence. There have also been some influential criticisms of this position. Here we argue, chiefly against Elga (2010), that subjective probabilities need not be sharp. The key question is whether the imprecise probabilist can make reasonable sequences of decisions. We argue that she can. We outline Elga's argument and clarify the assumptions he makes and the principles of rationality he is implicitly committed to. We argue that these assumptions are too strong and that rational imprecise choice is possible in the absence of these overly strong conditions.

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Corresponding author
seamus.bradley@lmu.de and k.steele@lse.ac.uk
References
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S. Bradley 2012. ‘Dutch book Arguments and Imprecise Probabilities.’ In D. Dieks , W. J. González , S. Hartmann , M. Stöltzner and M. Weber (eds), Probabilities, Laws and Structures, pp. 317. New York, NY: Springer.

J. E. Gustafsson 2010. ‘A Money-pump for Acyclic Intransitive Preferences.’ Dialectica, 64: 251–7.

W. Rabinowicz 1995. ‘To Have One's Cake and Eat it too: Sequential Choice and Expected-utility Violations.’ Journal of Philosophy, 92: 586620.

N.-E. Sahlin and P. Weirich 2014. ‘Unsharp Sharpness.’ Theoria, 80: 100–3.

F. Schick 1986. ‘Dutch Bookies and Money Pumps.’ Journal of Philosophy, 83: 112–19.

T. Seidenfeld 2004. ‘A Contrast between two Decision Rules for use with (Convex) Sets of Probabilities: Γ-maximin versus E-admissibility.’ Synthese, 140: 6988.

K. Steele 2010. ‘What are the Minimal Requirements of Rational Choice? Arguments from the Sequential Setting.’ Theory and Decision, 68: 463–87.

B. van Fraassen 1990. ‘Figures in a Probability Landscape.’ In M. Dunn and K. Segerberg (eds), Truth or Consequences, pp. 345–56. Amsterdam: Kluwer.

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Episteme
  • ISSN: 1742-3600
  • EISSN: 1750-0117
  • URL: /core/journals/episteme
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