Zoom Talk: Brett Topey (Salzburg)
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Higher-Order Evidence and the Dynamics of Self-Location
The thesis that agents should calibrate their beliefs in the face of higher-order evidence – i.e., should adjust their first-order beliefs in response to evidence suggesting that those beliefs have been produced by faulty reasoning – is sometimes thought to be in tension with Bayesian approaches to belief update: in order to obey conditionalization, it’s claimed, agents must remain steadfast in the face of higher-order evidence. But I argue that this claim is incorrect. In particular, I motivate a minimal constraint on a reasonable treatment of the evolution of self-locating beliefs over time and show that, on any way of generalizing conditionalization so as to respect this constraint, calibrating does not require violating conditionalization. I then use this result to argue that, despite Miriam Schoenfield’s recent argument to the contrary, remaining steadfast is not the response to higher-order evidence that maximizes expected accuracy.