Can Bayesian agents always be rational? A principled analysis of consistency of an Abstract Principal Principle
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The paper takes the Abstract Principal Principle to be a norm demanding that subjective degrees of belief of a Bayesian agent be equal to the objective probabilities once the agent has conditionalized his subjective degrees of beliefs on the values of the objective probabilities, where the objective probabilities can be not only chances but any other quantities determined objectively. Weak and strong consistency of the Abstract Principal Principle are defined in terms of classical probability measure spaces. It is proved that the Abstract Principal Principle is weakly consistent and that it is strongly consistent in the category of probability measure spaces where the Boolean algebra representing the objective random events is finite. It is argued that it is desirable to strengthen the Abstract Principal Principle by adding a stability requirement to it. Weak and strong consistency of the resulting Stable Abstract Principal Principle are defined, and the strong consistency of the Abstract Principal Principle is interpreted as necessary for a non-omniscient Bayesian agent to be able to have rational degrees of belief in all epistemic situations. It is shown that the Stable Abstract Principal Principle is weakly consistent, but the strong consistency of the Stable Abstract Principal principle remains an open question. We conclude that we do not yet have proof that Bayesian agents can have rational degrees of belief in every epistemic situation.