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Reasons for (prior) belief in Bayesian epistemology

Dietrich, Franz and List, Christian (2013) Reasons for (prior) belief in Bayesian epistemology. Synthese, 190 (5). pp. 787-808. ISSN 1573-0964

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Bayesian epistemology tells us how we should move from prior to posterior beliefs in light of new evidence or information, but says little about where our prior beliefs come from. It offers few resources to describe some prior beliefs as rational or well-justified, and others as irrational or unreasonable. A different strand of epistemology takes the central epistemological question to be not how to change one’s beliefs in light of new evidence, but what reasons justify a given set of beliefs in the first place. We offer an account of rational belief formation that closes some of the gap between Bayesianism and its reason-based alternative, formalizing the idea that an agent can have reasons for his or her (prior) beliefs, in addition to evidence or information in the ordinary Bayesian sense. Our analysis of reasons for belief is part of a larger programme of research on the role of reasons in rational agency (Dietrich and List, Nous, 2012a, in press; Int J Game Theory, 2012b, in press).

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Dietrich, Franz
List, Christian
Keywords: Bayesian epistemology; prior probabilities; credences; reasons for belief; principle of insufficient reason; belief revision; belief formation
Subjects: General Issues > Decision Theory
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Depositing User: Christian List
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2015 14:42
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2015 14:42
Item ID: 11396
Journal or Publication Title: Synthese
Publisher: 2013
DOI or Unique Handle:
Subjects: General Issues > Decision Theory
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Date: March 2013
Page Range: pp. 787-808
Volume: 190
Number: 5
ISSN: 1573-0964

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