Horowitz Wins Sanders Prize

Just saw this on Facebook. Fantastic news, and well-deserved congratulations to Sophie!

Congratulations to Sophie Horowitz, Assistant Professor at Rice University, for winning the 2015 Sanders Prize in Epistemology. Sophie’s paper, “Accuracy and Educated Guesses,” will be published in Oxford Studies in Epistemology.

Credences, unlike full beliefs, can’t be true or false. So what makes credences more or less accurate? I offer a new answer to this question: credences are accurate insofar as they license true educated guesses, and less accurate insofar as they license false educated guesses. I argue that this account can be used to justify certain coherence constraints on rational credence, and has other advantages over rival accounts of accuracy.


Horowitz Wins Sanders Prize — 2 Comments

  1. Can I have an example, while waiting for the article to appear, of the expression of a credence? I happen to have in front of me (really, I was just looking at it a minute before reading this post) the sentence, “I’m guessing the note was left by Sam.” The production of this sentence is not meant as an assertion, or a claim, not meant to be judged true or false. As the linguists would say, it’s “non-factive”. I hear a knock at the door, and, expecting a package delivery, I say, “That will be the postman.” I may be proven wrong, but no one will accuse me of lying, or even uttering falsehoods. On the one hand, the speaker is intending to refer to an objective situation that may or may not be actual, and that would determine confirmation or not. On the other hand, the sentence is intended to be judged wrt its sincerity, as expressing the speaker’s judgment in the absence of complete knowledge. The expression above with the present progressive “guessing” is intended as more tentative and incomplete than if the speaker had said, “I guess the note was left by Sam”, which would be intended to be judged as a conclusion on the basis of competent use of logical inference. In addition to accuracy, there is the property of the objective situation being more vs. less fully specified in the proposition. (E.g., “The tsunami may have been caused by an earthquake” vs “The tsunami may have been caused by an undersea megathrust earthquake of the slip- rupture type.”) Level of specificity of the proposition can be determined prior to any truth judgment. With relation to the aim of giving a causal explanation of the tsunami, the more highly specified proposition will be judged preferable to the less specified, although both would be judged as true. A lot goes into the determination of whether or not a hypothesis is true or accurate, including possibly creating new terminological distinctions or even modification of the causal laws. We may have a series of propositions of increasing specificity functioning as hypothesis. Tarskian truth- functional semantics does not give us any help in understanding this process, because it can say nothing about the improving descriptive adequacy of the proposition with relation to the objective situation to be described and understood.

    Congratulations to Sophie Horowitz on the prize. Now I’m interested; thanks for the notice.

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