Goldman on Probabilistic Inference
Philosophical Studies, Vol. 109, No. 3, pp. 223-240, 2002
23 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2009
Date Written: April 16, 2002
In his latest book, Knowledge in a Social World, Alvin Goldman claims to have established that if a reasoner starts with accurate estimates of the reliability of new evidence and conditionalizes on this evidence, then this reasoner is objectively likely to end up closer to the truth. In this paper, I argue that Goldman’s result is not nearly as philosophically significant as he would have us believe. First, accurately estimating the reliability of evidence - in the sense that Goldman requires - is not quite as easy as it might sound. Second, being objectively likely to end up closer to the truth - in the sense that Goldman establishes - is not quite as valuable as it might sound.
Keywords: epistemic risk, epistemic value theory, epistemology, probability
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