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Reasons for (prior) belief in bayesian epistemology


  • Dietrich, Franz
  • List, Christian


Bayesian epistemology tells us with great precision how we should move from prior to posterior beliefs in light of new evidence or information, but says little about where our prior beliefs come from. It o¤ers few resources to describe some prior beliefs as rational or well-justi�ed, and others as irrational or unreasonable. A di¤erent strand of epistemology takes the central epistemological question to be not how to change one�s beliefs in light of new evidence, but what reasons justify a given set of beliefs in the �rst place. We o¤er an account of rational belief formation that closes some of the gap between Bayesianism and its reason-based alternative, formalizing the idea that an agent can have reasons for his or her (prior) beliefs, in addition to evidence or information in the ordinary Bayesian sense. Our analysis of reasons for belief is part of a larger programme of research on the role of reasons in rational agency (Dietrich and List 2012a,b).

Suggested Citation

  • Dietrich, Franz & List, Christian, 2012. "Reasons for (prior) belief in bayesian epistemology," MPRA Paper 36111, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:36111

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peter C. B. Phillips & Hyungsik R. Moon, 1999. "Linear Regression Limit Theory for Nonstationary Panel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(5), pages 1057-1112, September.
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    Bayesian epistemology; doxastic reasons; prior and posterior beliefs; principle of insu¢ cient reason; belief formation; belief change;

    JEL classification:

    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • C0 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles

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