Non-Measurability, Imprecise Credences, and Imprecise Chances

Yoaav Isaacs, Alan Hájek, John Hawthorne

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We offer a new motivation for imprecise probabilities. We argue that there are propositions to which precise probability cannot be assigned, but to which imprecise probability can be assigned. In such cases the alternative to imprecise probability is not precise probability, but no probability at all. And an imprecise probability is substantially better than no probability at all. Our argument is based on the mathematical phenomenon of non-measurable sets. Non-measurable propositions cannot receive precise probabilities, but there is a natural way for them to receive imprecise probabilities. The mathematics of non-measurable sets is arcane, but its epistemological import is far-reaching; even apparently mundane propositions are liable to be affected by non-measurability. The phenomenon of non-measurability dramatically reshapes the dialectic between critics and proponents of imprecise credence. Nonmeasurability offers natural rejoinders to prominent critics of imprecise credence. Non-measurability even reverses some of the critics arguments by the very lights that have been used to argue against imprecise credences, imprecise credences are better than precise credences.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)892-916
    Number of pages25
    JournalMind
    Volume131
    Issue number523
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022

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