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Draft Papers – Casper Storm Hansen
Prolegomenon to Any Consistent Semantics for the Liar

Abstract:  This paper argues that, given certain mainstream assumptions, the solution to the liar paradox is straightforward, once a few
simple distinctions have been made, namely between states of affairs and truths, between the truth property and the truth predicate, and
between truth conditions and so-called naive truth conditions. The solution is really what Chihara would call a “diagnosis”, for no claim
is made about whether the liar sentence has the truth property or not. That is because the question of whether gap theory, revision theory, or dialetheism (to name just a few options) is correct is an empirical question inessential to the philosophical solution to the paradox.

Keywords: Liar Paradox, Conventions, View From Nowhere, Theories of Truth, Dialetheism


Fair Countable Lotteries and Reflection

Abstract: The main conclusion is this conditional: If the principle of reflection is a valid constraint on rational credences, then so is the principle of countable additivity. The argument for it is a variation on two arguments that are already in the literature, but with crucial differences. The conditional can be used for either a modus ponens or a modus tollens; some reasons for thinking that the former is most reasonable is given.

Keywords: Countable Additivity, Uniform Probability Distributions, Reflection


The Liar, States of Affairs, and Truths

Abstract: Graham Priest has suggested that a state of affairs may obtain and fail to obtain at the same time. It is argued that the liar paradox provides no reason for holding that position, for the alternative is easy to accept. The alternative is simply that humans are imperfect. In particular, we are imperfect with respect to our attempts to assign truth conditions to sentences.

Keywords: Liar Paradox, States of affairs, Truth, Bivalence, Language conventions


The Dogmatism Required to Avoid Learning through Induction

Abstract: Two of the best-known attempts to solve the problem of induction are the nomological-explanatory and the Bayesian. Both are based on unnecessarily strong assumptions. By combining ideas from the two, a better solution can be formulated.

Keywords: Induction, Bayesianism, Laws of Nature, Inference to the Best Explanation


The Excellent Track Record a Presumptuous Philosopher Would Have Had

Abstract: The thought experiment of the Presumptious Philosopher was introduced by Bostrom to show that certain theories of anthropic reasoning have obviously unacceptable consequences, namely those theories that imply that an epistemic agent should shift his or her credences towards theories according to which many subjects exist in the history of the universe. By way of historical case studies, this paper attempts to reverse the intuition that this thought experiment has elicited from Bostrom and most other participants in the debate: reasoning “presumptuously” is rational and would have been useful to historical cosmologist. What I defend is approximately the conjunction of the so-called Self-Sampling and Self-Indication Assumptions, but I close the paper by explaining why this conjunction is not entirely correct, and by suggesting an alternative approach to anthropic reasoning.

Keywords: Anthropic Reasoning, History of Cosmology, Bayesianism, The Presumptious Philosopher, The Self-Indication Assumption


Existential Bias

Abstract: To determine what the rational credences are for the epistemic agents in the famous cases of self-locating belief, one should model the processes that lead to those agents having the evidence that they have. This seems immensely reasonable. However, the existing literature gives the impression that if one takes this approach, then one arrives at such conclusions as the doomsday argument being correct and that Sleeping Beauty should be a halfer. However, there is an implicit existential bias in that literature: it is assumed that the first step in those processes is that it was determined that the agent in question should exist. It is much more reasonable to model that determination as contingent and a result of other, earlier, steps in the process. This paper offers such alternative models.

Keywords: Self-Locating Belief, The Doomsday Argument, Sleeping Beauty, Quantum Mechanics, The Fine-Tuning Argument, Protocols, Selection Effects