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Bias and Belief Part 3: Extending the Model

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 10 months ago

Extending the Model


Up: Book Index



  • Is Desire for H to be True a Value Bias?
  • The Value of Being Informative
  • Values and Interpretation
  • Absolute and Relative Rationality
  • The Delayed Value of Truth principle



  • Another kind of non-epistemic motivation occurs when the probabilities of states are act-dependent, and significant utilities attach to the states themselves.


  • Apart from via the above-mentioned act dependence, there is no necessary connection between a state H being aversive and the assertion (or contemplation) of H being aversive, so value bias is not the same as wanting something to be true.


  • The simple decision theoretic model introduced in Part 2 can be extended by adding a series of additional cognitive acts, involving increasingly specific levels of commitment or non-commitment. It is relatively straightforward to identify ideally epistemically motivated attitudes for the resulting decision tables, but to give a pattern of preference that is recognisably scientific, it is necessary to introduce a new cognitive utility: the utility of informative assertion.


  • Someone who is motivated to match their opinions to a locally available indicator of truth may or may not be motivated to accept the truth, depending on whether that indicator is reliable. To form a judgement of whether someone is rational in this absolute sense, we have to supply our own estimation of that reliability.


  • Since epistemic rewards can be expected to be less immediate than biases, cases of insufficient epistemic motivation can be thought of as analogous to other cases where people go for immediate rather than deferred gratification. A consequence of this is that we should expect the balance between an individual's epistemic motivations and biases to be affected by uncertainty about the future.


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