Jake Khawaja to give a Symposium at the 2023 Eastern APA

"My paper Rationalizing the Principal Principle for Non-Humean Chance. The paper is about the intersection of two questions. (1) what is the right way to think about the metaphysics of objective probability (i.e., chance)? And (2) what are the rational credences to adopt in light of information about the objective probability of some event?

JAKE IMG 0065Answers to the first question broadly define between Humean and Non-Humean accounts of chance. Humeans think that there is some kind of constitutive link between chances and (perhaps among other things) frequencies: when I tell you that the chance of some coin coming up heads is 0.5, I'm telling you something simple and informative about the entire actual history of occurrent sequences of coin tosses. Non-Humeans think that chance does more than play the descriptive, summarizing, information-giving role that Humeans posit: chances are additions to the fundamental furniture of the world, and (in principle) any chance distribution is compatible with any frequency of outcomes for chancy processes. 

It is generally agreed that something close to David Lewis' Principal Principle gives the correct guidance for how we should set our credences given our beliefs about the objective chances: given that you believe the chance of some proposition A is x, you should set your own subjective degree of confidence in A to x. And that's it! (Well, not really, but almost.) Humeans allege, though, that the Non-Humean account of chance is unable to explain why you should obey the Principal Principle. In particular, because chances are these additional things, detached completely from the determinate outcomes that we care about, it is unclear why we should give the chances any purchase when we are figuring out what to believe (or what credences to have).

My paper aims to provide an answer to the question. I offer two separate attempts at vindicating adherence to the Principal Principle which, I think, are as available to Non-Humeans as to Humeans."


Click here for more information about the 2023 Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association.