Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

David Christensen (Brown University) Title: Preserving Independence

Fri, March 31, 2017 | David L. Miller Conference Room, WAG 316

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


We often get evidence that casts doubt on the reliability of our own first-order reasoning. The rational response to such evidence would seem to depend on how reliable one should estimate that reasoning to be. Independence principles are intended to constrain that reliability-assessment, so as to prevent question-begging reliance on the very reasoning being assessed. But this has consequences some find disturbing: The bracketed reasoning may embody important logical/probabilistic or evidential relations, and so one’s final credence may end up violating logical/probabilistic or evidential principles of rationality.

            Critics have offered several arguments against the very idea of Independence principles. This paper diagnoses where the anti-Independence arguments go wrong. It argues that looking closely at the arguments actually strengthens the case for the general idea and gives us some valuable guidance in trying to formulate an adequate Independence principle.


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