Dutch Book Argument in favor of Probabilism?

Ondřej Kormaník


The aim of this study is to consider possibilities of a Dutch Book Argument in favor of Probabilism and to determine its limits. There are many versions of the argument; therefore at first I analyze a description of a classic version of the argument. After that it sheds light on three problematic areas of the argument: (1) problems of behaviorism, (2) an utility of money, (3) relation between a coherence, a sure lose and rationality. The significant is mainly the third area regarding a failure to create a simple connection between probabilistic coherence of degrees of belief, a concept of sure lose and pragmatic rationality. I consider three contemporary reinterpretations of the argument in favor of probabilistic norms (Ardment, Howson, Christensen), and I conclude that neither of them is acceptable. They fail to solve the problems (Armendt, Christensen) or they don't speak in favor of Probabilism (Howson). Therefore I think the analysis of the argument primarily shows that pragmatic defense of epistemic norms of rationality by means of the Dutch Book Argument is not workable solution for Probabilism. The conclusion tries to briefly describe why it is so.


Probabilism, probability, rationality, degree of belief, Dutch Book Argument, utility, coherence


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Published by the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
ISSN: 1212-9097