The Bayesian Account of the Defect in Moorean Reasoning

Byeong D. Lee


Many Bayesians such as White and Silins have argued that Moorean reasoning is defective because it is a case where probabilistic support fails to transmit across the relevant entailment. In this paper, I argue against their claim. On the Bayesian argument, a skeptical hypothesis is that you are a brain in a vat that appears to have hands. To disclose the defect in Moorean reasoning, the Bayesian argument is supposed to show that its appearing to you as if you have hands does not increase the probability of a non-skeptical hypothesis such that you are not a brain in a vat. But what their argument really shows is rather a trivial fact that acquiring theses handlike experiences eliminates the possibility of not having these experiences, and so your having these experiences lowers the probability of the disjunctive claim that you are not a brain in a vat or it does not appear as if you have hands. Along these lines, I argue that what the Bayesian proof establishes has nothing to do with the defect in the Moorean inference.


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