PHI 533 Decision Theory:
Graduate seminar, Spring 2008. Open to graduate students only.
Adam Elga (follow link for contact information, office hour). Class meeting time: Mondays 2:00-4:50 Mondays. Location: Marx Hall 201
Seminar description: We will study disagreements over beliefs, values, and preferences from a Bayesian point of view. Topics include expressivism about rationality and about chance, belief and desire fragmentation and logical omniscience, the "agreeing to disagree" theorem, epistemic permissiveness and the uniqueness thesis, the problem of disagreement, the problem of contingency, and desiring at will.
Readings: To access the readings (all available electronically, as linked below), you will need a userid (the userid is "guest") and a password (announced in class). If you would like to preview the readings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: In many cases, only a subsection of the linked reading is required. In those cases, the required page range is listed after the reading itself.
February 11: Agustin Rayo, MIT
Feb 25: Andrew Egan, University of Michigan
March 10: Roger White, MIT
March 24: Ernest Sosa, Rutgers University
March 31: John Collins, Columbia University
April 14: Robin Hanson, George Mason University
April 21: Daniel Garber, Princeton University
Guest session leader: Agustin Rayo
Topic: Fragmentation and logical omniscience
Stalnaker, Robert. The problem of logical omniscience I.
Stalnaker, Robert. Inquiry. Chapter 4
Stalnaker, Robert. Inquiry. Chapter 5 pp. 79-87.
Field, Hartry. Review of Inquiry, sections 2-3.
Lewis, David. Radical interpretation.
Fundamental methods for reasoning.
Field, Hartry. Apriority as an evaluative notion, 130-134 and the appendix.
Kripke. Wittgenstein on rules and private language. Chapter 2: The Wittgenstinian paradox. 7-37
Chomsky. Knowledge of language. Chapter 4: Questions about rules. 223-225, 236 (last paragraph) - 240.
Guest session leader: Andrew Egan, University of Michigan
Gibbard, Alan. Wise choices, apt feelings. Chapter 5: Normative logic
Gibbard, Alan. Normative objectivity
Gibbard, Alan. Moral Judgment and the Acceptance of Norms
Gibbard, Alan. Wise choices, apt feelings. Chapter 9: Normative authority
Egan, Andy. De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est (at Least, Not Always)
Gibbard, Alan. Normative objectivity
Smith, Michael. Evaluation, Uncertainty and Motivation
Wedgwood, Ralph. The Nature of Normativity. Chapter 2.
Brown Electronic Article Review Service Symposium on Smith
Guest leader: Roger White
Are unsharp responses to evidence ever perfectly rational?
White, Roger. Evidential symmetry and mushy credence Manuscript. Read from p. 8 to the end.
van Fraassen, Bas. Vague expectation value loss
Elga, Adam. Subjective probabilities should be sharp. Manuscript. Note: I'm not sure if I believe this argument any more...
Christensen, David. Clever Bookies and Coherent Beliefs
Guest leader: Ernest Sosa
Boghossian, Paul. Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism. Chapter 7
Sosa, Ernest. Reflective Knowledge Read the prefatory material and section 5 of Chapter Ten, and everything in Chapter Eleven, except for the concluding section, on Descartes. The omitted materials would then be helpful as background reading, but are not essential.
Guest leader: John Collins
Aumann, Robert. Agreeing to disagree
Collins, John. How We Can Agree to Disagree
Christensen, David. Epistemology of Disagreement: the Good News, pp. 199-203
Kelly, Tom. Peer Disagreement and Higher Order Evidence, pp. 12-17, 29-34
Elga, Adam. Reflection and disagreement, pp. 17-20
Guest leader: Robin Hanson
Hanson, Robin and Cowen, Tyler. Are Disagreements Honest?
Hanson, Robin. Uncommon Priors Require Origin Disputes
The problem of contingency
Guest co-leader: Daniel Garber
Sher, George. But I could be wrong
Cohen, G. A. Chapter 1: Paradoxes of conviction of If you're an egalitarian, how come you're so rich?. Pages 7-13.
Constraints on desiring at will. Expressivism about values.
Egan, Greg. Quarantine. London : Legend, 1992. pp. 73--75 (first 3 pages of chapter 5). Explanatory note: the selected passage occurs shortly after the narrator, a detective, has been captured by his enemy, BDI. Rather than kill him, BDI installs a "loyalty mod" in his brain -- a device that changes his priorities in ways that the passage reveals.
Egan, Greg. Axiomatic, first three pages. In Axiomatic (Harper Prism, December 1997).
Millgram, Elijah. Practical Induction. Chapter 2.
Shoemaker, S. Desiring at will (and at pill): a reply to Millgram pp. 26-29.
Stalnaker. The problem of logical omniscience II.
van Inwagen, Peter. "It is Wrong, Always, Everywhere, and for Anyone, to Believe Anything, Upon Insufficient Evidence". Pages 137-143.
Sunstein, Cass. Deliberative Trouble? Why Groups Go to Extremes Yale Law Journal 110(1) October 2000. Pages 71-90.
Maher, Patrick. Betting on theories. Chapter 1.
Maher, Patrick. Betting on theories. Chapter 4. Section 4.4.Adam Elga | Princeton University