Ramsey and Joyce on deliberation and prediction

Published on 17 September 2018


Can an agent deliberating about an action A hold a meaningful credence that she will do A? ‘No’, say some authors, for ‘deliberation crowds out prediction’ (DCOP). Others disagree, but we argue here that such disagreements are often terminological. We explain why DCOP holds in a Ramseyian operationalist model of credence, but show that it is trivial to extend this model so that DCOP fails. We then discuss a model due to Joyce, and show that Joyce’s rejection of DCOP rests on terminological choices about terms such as ‘intention’, ‘prediction’, and ‘belief’. Once these choices are in view, they reveal underlying agreement between Joyce and the DCOP-favouring tradition that descends from Ramsey. Joyce’s Evidential Autonomy Thesis is effectively DCOP, in different terminological clothing. Both principles rest on the so-called ‘transparency’ of first-person present-tensed reflection on one’s own mental states.

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