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The Interference Problem for the Betting Interpretetation

Rabinowicz, Wlodek LU and Lina, Ericsson (2012) In Synthese published on-line.
Abstract (Swedish)
Abstract in Undetermined

On an influential interpretation, the agent's degrees of belief asr identified with her betting rates. However, being placed in a betting situation can itself change one’s degree of belief in the proposition in question. The problem as such isn’t new. Ramsey, for example, was right on to this idea when he wrote:

"… the proposal of a bet may inevitably alter [one’s] state of opinion; just as we could not always measure electric intensity by actually introducing a charge and seeing what force it was subject to, because the introduction of the charge would change the distribution to be measured." (Ramsey 1931 [1926], p. 172)

This ‘interference problem’ for the betting interpretation... (More)
Abstract in Undetermined

On an influential interpretation, the agent's degrees of belief asr identified with her betting rates. However, being placed in a betting situation can itself change one’s degree of belief in the proposition in question. The problem as such isn’t new. Ramsey, for example, was right on to this idea when he wrote:

"… the proposal of a bet may inevitably alter [one’s] state of opinion; just as we could not always measure electric intensity by actually introducing a charge and seeing what force it was subject to, because the introduction of the charge would change the distribution to be measured." (Ramsey 1931 [1926], p. 172)

This ‘interference problem’ for the betting interpretation can best be put in the following way: The bets we are disposed to accept do not manifest our current unconditional degrees of belief in various propositions. Whether a bet on A would be accepted or not does not depend on the agent’s degree of belief in A but rather on the degree of belief she would have if she were confronted with this bet proposal, or – more generally – the degree of belief she would have if she were in a position to bet on A. Assuming the conditionalization model for belief change, this means that whether the agent would be willing to bet depends on her current conditional beliefs concerning A on the hypothetical supposition that she has an opportunity to make this bet. Furthermore, her disposition to bet also depends on the expected effects the act of betting would have on the truth of the proposition to be betted on. Both these phenomena imply that finding oneself in a betting situation might alter one’s expectations in important ways. Consequently, the identification of (unconditional) degrees of belief with betting rates is a mistake. We show that this problem comes up in several different versions, or – equivalently – that different kinds of arguments against the betting interpretation stem from the same source. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
submitted
subject
keywords
belief, probabilities, bets, betting, decision theory, Levi, Spohn, Ramsey, de Finetti
in
Synthese
volume
published on-line
publisher
Springer
ISSN
0039-7857
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ce0b1392-9566-4beb-8317-7c3cdfe5f2dc (old id 2295371)
date added to LUP
2012-01-16 15:43:30
date last changed
2016-04-16 07:44:52
@article{ce0b1392-9566-4beb-8317-7c3cdfe5f2dc,
  abstract     = {<b>Abstract in Undetermined</b><br/><br>
On an influential interpretation, the agent's degrees of belief asr identified with her betting rates. However, being placed in a betting situation can itself change one’s degree of belief in the proposition in question. The problem as such isn’t new. Ramsey, for example, was right on to this idea when he wrote: <br/><br>
"… the proposal of a bet may inevitably alter [one’s] state of opinion; just as we could not always measure electric intensity by actually introducing a charge and seeing what force it was subject to, because the introduction of the charge would change the distribution to be measured." (Ramsey 1931 [1926], p. 172)<br/><br>
This ‘interference problem’ for the betting interpretation can best be put in the following way: The bets we are disposed to accept do not manifest our current unconditional degrees of belief in various propositions. Whether a bet on A would be accepted or not does not depend on the agent’s degree of belief in A but rather on the degree of belief she would have if she were confronted with this bet proposal, or – more generally – the degree of belief she would have if she were in a position to bet on A. Assuming the conditionalization model for belief change, this means that whether the agent would be willing to bet depends on her current conditional beliefs concerning A on the hypothetical supposition that she has an opportunity to make this bet. Furthermore, her disposition to bet also depends on the expected effects the act of betting would have on the truth of the proposition to be betted on. Both these phenomena imply that finding oneself in a betting situation might alter one’s expectations in important ways. Consequently, the identification of (unconditional) degrees of belief with betting rates is a mistake. We show that this problem comes up in several different versions, or – equivalently – that different kinds of arguments against the betting interpretation stem from the same source.},
  author       = {Rabinowicz, Wlodek and Lina, Ericsson},
  issn         = {0039-7857},
  keyword      = {belief,probabilities,bets,betting,decision theory,Levi,Spohn,Ramsey,de Finetti},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Synthese},
  title        = {The Interference Problem for the Betting Interpretetation},
  volume       = {published on-line},
  year         = {2012},
}