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Comparative Opinion Loss

Eva, Benjamin and Stern, Reuben (2022) Comparative Opinion Loss. [Preprint]


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It is a consequence of the theory of imprecise credences that there exist situations in which rational agents inevitably become less opinionated toward some propositions as they gather more evidence. The fact that an agent's imprecise credal state can dilate in this way is often treated as a strike against the imprecise approach to inductive inference. Here, we show that dilation is not a mere artifact of this approach by demonstrating that opinion loss is countenanced as rational by a substantially broader class of normative theories than has been previously recognised. Specifically, we show that dilation-like phenomena arise even when one abandons the basic assumption that agents have (precise or imprecise) credences of any kind, and follows directly from bedrock norms for rational comparative confidence judgements of the form `I am at least as confident in p as I am in q'. We then use the comparative confidence framework to develop a novel understanding of what exactly gives rise to dilation-like phenomena. By considering opinion loss in this more general setting, we are able to provide a novel assessment of the prospects for an account of inductive inference that is not saddled with the inevitability of rational opinion loss.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: formal epistemology, dilation, qualitative probability, comparative confidence, imprecise Bayesianism, the reflection principle
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Epistemology
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Depositing User: Dr. Reuben Stern
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2022 21:52
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2022 21:52
Item ID: 21074
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Epistemology
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Date: 1 August 2022

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