[SydPhil] USyd Postgrad Work in Progress Talk 16/9/13

Simon Varey simonvarey at gmail.com
Mon Sep 9 23:27:24 AEST 2013

Here are the details for the next USyd Postgrad Work in Progress talk:

Speaker: Edward Elliott

Title: Representation Theorems and the Characterisation of Credences

Representation theorems—either those that take us from a ranking on
propositions to a unique probability function, or those that allow for the
representation of a total preference state by a probability and utility
pair—have historically been taken to be of some kind of importance for the
foundations of decision theory. One tradition, beginning with Frank Ramsey,
through de Finetti, Savage, and others, holds that representation theorems
are useful in descriptively characterising what it is to have such-and-such
degrees of belief. A closely related tradition seeks to use these theorems
in the service of arguments for probabilism, a normative thesis about our
degrees of belief. Meacham & Weisberg (AJP, 2011) argue that these theorems
can play no such foundational role (in either a descriptive or a normative
capacity), and that their importance to decision theory is minimal at best.
This paper is a defence of the importance of representation theorems. I
argue that while there are very good reasons to reject many simplistic
positions in the vicinity, there are views that fall within the Ramseyean
tradition not touched by the arguments of Meacham & Weisberg. In this
paper, I focus specifically on their arguments against the the descriptive
thesis, that representation theorems play an important role in
characterising our actual degrees of belief.

Time: 4:30pm, Mon Sep 16
Location: S401, Main Quad, University of Sydney
Hope to see you all there,
Simon Varey
Postgraduate Colloquium Co-ordinator
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