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Publication - Professor Richard Pettigrew

    The Population Ethics of Belief

    In Search of an Epistemic Theory X


    Pettigrew, R, 2018, ‘The Population Ethics of Belief: In Search of an Epistemic Theory X’. Noûs, vol 52., pp. 336-372


    Consider Phoebe and Daphne. Phoebe has credences in 1 million propositions. Daphne, on the other hand, has credences in all of these propositions, but she’s also got credences in 999 million other propositions. Phoebe’s credences are all very accurate. Each of Daphne’s credences, in contrast, are not very accurate at all; each is a little more accurate than it is inaccurate, but not by much. Whose doxastic state is better, Phoebe’s or Daphne’s?

    It is clear that this question is analogous to a question that has exercised ethicists over the past thirty years. How do we weigh apopulation consisting of some number of exceptionally happy and satisfied individuals against another population consisting of a much greater number of people whose lives are only just worth living? This is the question that occasions population ethics. In this paper, I go in search of the correct population ethics for credal states.

    Full details in the University publications repository