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The Philosophical Review vol. 123, no. 1, January 2014.

Regularity and Hyperreal Credences, KENNY EASWARAN

Many philosophers contest the use of standard real numbers for the probability function that represents an agent's credences. They point out that leal numbers cannot capture the distinction between certain extremely unlikely events and impossible ones--they are both represented by credence 0, which violates the "regularity" principle. Following Skyrms and Lewis, they recommend that we should use a set of numbers, called the "hyperreals." This essay argues that this view rests on two mistakes. The first mistake, called here the "numerical fallacy," is to assume that a distinction that is not represented by different numbers is not represented at all. The essay claims that although the real numbers do not make all relevant distinctions, the full mathematical structure of a probability function does. The second mistake is that the hyperreals make too many distinctions. They have a much more complex structure than credences in ordinary propositions can have, so they make distinctions that do not exist among credences. While they might be useful for generating certain mathematical models, they will not appear in a faithful mathematical representation of credences of ordinary propositions.

Does Division Multiply Desert? THERON PUMMER

It seems plausible that (i) how much punishment a person deserves cannot be affected by the mere existence or nonexistence of another person and that (ii) how much punishment is deserved cannot increase merely in virtue of personal division. This paper argues that (i) and (ii) are inconsistent with the popular belief that, other things being equal, when people culpably do very wrong or bad acts, they ought to be punished for this--even if they have repented, are now virtuous, and punishing them would benefit no one. Insofar as we cannot deny (i), we are either forced to abandon the popular belief in desert, or else allow that personal division could, as the author puts it, "multiply desert." Some may not find the latter troubling. The author argues that the thesis that division multiplies desert faces a potentially serious problem, which arises in the context of personal fusion. It is difficult to see how to maintain a particular family of desert views in light of the cases here presented.

* Abstracts of articles from leading philosophical journals are published as a regular feature of the Review. We wish to thank the editors of the journals represented for their cooperation, and the authors of the articles for their willingness to submit abstracts. Where abstracts have not been submitted, the name and author of the article are listed.
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Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2014
Previous Article:The Monist vol. 97, issue 2, April 2014.
Next Article:Philosophy vol. 89, no. 1, January 2014.

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