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Research

Please feel free to send me comments, questions and devastating objections.

Books



Papers

I argue that Carnap's criticism of metaphysics is not based on verificationism, but on the absence of any evidence that could confirm metaphysical theories.


Deutsch on Confirmation in Everettian Quantum Theory (2017) Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 57: 111-114 (2017)

I discuss David Deutsch's (2016) attempt to develop a confirmation theory for branching worlds.

A Priori Causal Laws (2017) Inquiry 60 (4): 358-370 

Sober (2011) and Elgin & Sober (2014) defend the claim that there are a priori causal laws in biology. I argue that Sober and Elgin don’t go far enough. I locate their position in a broader framework and argue that there are a priori causal laws in many sciences. Furthermore, I argue that this thesis is compatible with a Humean metaphysics and an empiricist epistemology.

Everett and Sleeping Beauty: Reply to Wilson (2015) British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):683-693.

I reply to Alastair Wilson's criticism of my 'Confirmation in a Branching World'.

    Response by Wilson

A Relevant Alternatives Solution to the Bootstrapping and Self- Knowledge Problems (2014) Journal of Philosophy  111 (7):379-393.

I argue that any form of the relevant alternatives theory of knowledge (e.g. contextualism, contrasivism...) can solve the bootstrapping problem (Vogel 2000) and the problem that semantic externalists seem to have armchair knowledge of the world. Along the way, I argue that many seemingly opposed theories of knowledge, such as skepticism and Mooreanism, can be embedded in a relevant alternatives framework.

Functionalism and the Independence Problems Nous (2013) 47 (1):545-557.

The independence problems for functionalism stem from the worry that if functional properties are defined in terms of their causes and effects then such functional properties seem to be too intimately connected to these purported causes and effects. I distinguish three different ways the independence problems can be filled out – in terms of necessary connections, analytic connections and vacuous explanations. I argue that none of these present serious problems. Instead, they bring out some important and over-looked features of functionalism.

    Reply by Robert Rupert 'Necessity Is Unnecessary: A Response to Bradley' (2014) Noûs 48 (3):558-564.  

Dynamic Beliefs and the Passage of Time (2013) In A. Capone & N. Feit (eds.), Attitudes De Se. University of Chicago
I offer two arguments for two-dimensionalism (which says there are eternal and temporal objects of belief) over one-dimensionalism (which says there are only temporal objects of belief). First, two-dimensionalism gives us a more natural account of belief retention and changing our mind. Second, the extra complexity of two-dimensionalism turns out to be independently motivated by confirmation theory.

Four Problems About Self-Locating Belief  Philosophical Review (2012) 121.2 

I argue that four problems that appear to be very different have the same structure. I give a unified treatment of the Doomsday Argument, Sleeping Beauty, the Fine-tuning Argument and confirmation in the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. All these cases involve self-locating evidence. However, the confusing feature of all these cases is not self-location, but observation selection effects. I explain how observation selection effects operate, why they affect the four problem cases, and how they can be incorporated into confirmation theory. I defend the Doomsday Argument, the halfer position in Sleeping Beauty, the Fine-tuning Argument and the applicability of confirmation theory to the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. (Penultimate draft)

Weisberg on Design: What Fine-Tuning's Got to do With it (2012) Erkenntnis 
 77 (3):435-438.

I respond to Jonathan Weisberg's (2010) claim that fine-tuning has nothing to do with design arguments.

Justified Concepts and the Limits of the Conceptual Approach to the A Priori (2011) Croatian Journal of Philosophy Vol. XI, No. 33 p. 267-274 (penultimate draft)

Jenkins (2005, 2008) argues that if a belief is justified a priori then it contains justified concepts. I offer a counter-example: 'aether, if it exists, conducts heat'. I then argue that this kind of counter-example demonstrates a limit to the conceptual approach to the a priori. 


I argue that there is a flaw in the way that response-dependence has been formulated in the literature, and this flawed formulation has been correctly attacked by Mark Johnston’s Missing Explanation Argument. Moving to a better formulation, which is analogous to the move from behaviourism to functionalism, avoids the Missing Explanation Argument.
 
Confirmation in a Branching World: The Everett Interpretation and Sleeping Beauty (2011) British Journal for Philosophy of Science  62 (2):323-342 (penultimate draft)

I argue that the Everett interpretation and Sleeping Beauty are strongly analogous. Once we take account of the observation selection effects, conditionalization vindicates the Everett interpretation and the halfer position in Sleeping Beauty.

    Response by Alastair Wilson 'Everttian Confirmation and Sleeping Beauty' (2014) British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3): 573-598 (to which I reply above)

Self-Location is No Problem for Conditionalization Synthese (2011) 182(3) 393-411 (penultimate draft)

How do temporal and eternal beliefs interact? I argue that acquiring a temporal belief should have no effect on eternal beliefs for an important range of cases. Thus, I oppose the popular view that new norms of belief change must be introduced for cases where the only change is the passing of time. I defend this position from the purported counter-examples of the Prisoner and Sleeping Beauty. I distinguish two different ways in which temporal beliefs can be acquired and draw some general conclusions about their impact on eternal beliefs.

    Discussion by Miriam Schoenfield 'An Accuracy Based Approach to Higher Order Evidence' (section 5) (2016) Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3)
 
Conditionalization and Belief De Se (2010) Dialectica Vol. 64, N° 2, pp. 247–250

I argue that a failure to note the distinction between 'E' and 'I learn E' is the real problem with Howson's (1995) purported counterexample to conditionalization.
 
Multiple Universes and Observation Selection Effects (2009) American Philosophical Quarterly 46, 61-72

The fine-tuning argument can be used to support the Many Universe hypothesis. The Inverse Gambler’s Fallacy objection seeks to undercut the support for the Many Universe hypothesis. The objection is that although the evidence that there is life somewhere confirms Many Universes, the specific evidence that there is life in this universe does not. I will argue that the Inverse Gambler’s Fallacy is not committed by the fine-tuning argument. The key issue is the procedure by which the universe with life is selected for observation. Once we take account of the procedure, we find that the support for the Many Universe hypothesis remains.

Philosophical Perspectives on Decision Theory (forthcoming) in The Encyclopedia of the Mind, ed. Hal Pashler, Sage

When Betting Odds and Credences Come Apart: More Worries for Dutch Book Arguments (with Hannes Leitgeb), Analysis 66.2 (2006), 119–127

We argue that there is a constraint on when being Dutch-booked is a symptom of irrationality that has been over-looked in the literature. The constraint is that the size of the bet mustn't be correlated with the outcome of the event that the bet it on. This undermines Chris Hitchcock's (2004) argument for the 1/3 position in Sleeping Beauty.

    Re-printed in Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings (2011) ed. A.Eagle, Routledge

    Response by Draper and Pust 'Diachronic Dutch Books and Sleeping Beauty' Synthese 164 (2):281 - 287

No Doomsday Argument Without Knowledge of Birth Rank Synthese 144 (2005), 91-100

Brad Monton (2003) tried to construct an a priori Doomsday Argument that could be used without knowledge of your birth rank. This would be an uncomfortable result for Doomsayers. I argue that Monton has failed to construct such an argument, and that the Doomsday Argument requires knowlege of birth rank.

Monty Hall, Doomsday and Confirmation (with Branden Fitelson), Analysis 63 (2003), 23-31

We give an analysis of the Monty Hall problem purely in terms of confirmation, without making any lottery assumptions about priors. Along the way, we show the Monty Hall problem is structurally identical to the Doomsday Argument.

Sleeping Beauty: A Note on Dorr's Argument for 1/3 Analysis 63 (2003), 266-268

Cian Dorr (2002) gives an argument for the 1/3 position in Sleeping Beauty. I argue this is based on a mistake about Sleeping Beauty's epistemic position.

Book Reviews


 

Here's my dissertation from 2007.

I'm the probabilistic puzzles editor of Phil Papers.

Here is the link to my PhilPapers profile.


Unpublished

Monty Hall and Random Sampling

An analysis of the Monty Hall problem that makes explicit the sampling assumptions required.

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Darren Bradley,
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