Epistemic Conditional Probability: The Sober Truth

Alvin Plantinga

in Warrant and Proper Function

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780195078640
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199872213 | DOI:
Epistemic Conditional Probability: The Sober Truth

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In Ch. 8, I distinguished epistemic probability from objective probability and then pointed out some debilitating problems with the three main accounts of epistemic probability. In this chapter, I propose my own account of epistemic probability. I first distinguish between two sides to epistemic probability, which I call the objective component and the normative component. In typical cases where we assert that some proposition is epistemically probable, two things get asserted: that the proposition is objectively probable with respect to the evidence (the objective component), and that it is rational (or reasonable) to place a high degree of confidence in the proposition, given the circumstances of having as evidence what in fact we do have as evidence (the normative component). Attempting to unpack these two components (especially the second), I sketch the view that (roughly) the normative component of the epistemic conditional probability of A on B is the interval containing the degrees of belief a rational person could have in A, provided she believed B and was aware that she believed B, considered the evidential bearing of B on A, had no other source of warrant for B or its denial, and had no defeater for the warrant, if any, accruing to A or its denial by virtue of being thus believed on the basis of B.

Keywords: epistemic conditional probability; epistemic probability; objective probability; probability; warrant

Chapter.  9617 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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