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Michael Rescorla - Colloquium

November 17, 2017 -
3:30pm to 5:15pm
Building 90, Room 92Q

Free and Open to the Public

On the Proper Formulation of Conditionalization

Conditionalization is a norm that governs the rational reallocation of credence. I distinguish between factive and non-factive formulations of Conditionalization. Factive formulations assume that the conditioning proposition is true. Non-factive formulations allow that the conditioning proposition may be false. I argue that non-factive formulations provide a better foundation for philosophical and scientific applications of Bayesian decision theory. I furthermore argue that previous formulations of Conditionalization, factive and non-factive alike, have almost universally ignored, downplayed, or mishandled a crucial causal aspect of Conditionalization. To formulate Conditionalization adequately, one must explicitly address the causal structure of the transition from old credences to new credences. I offer a formulation of Conditionalization that takes these considerations into account, and I compare my preferred formulation with some prominent formulations found in the literature.

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