European Journal of Analytic Philosophy (Jan 2022)

Extreme Permissivism Revisited

  • Tamaz Tokhadze

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. 1
pp. A1 – 26


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Extreme Permissivism is the view that a body of evidence could rationally permit both the attitude of belief and disbelief towards a proposition. This paper puts forward a new argument against Extreme Permissivism, which improves on a similar style of argument due to Roger White (2005, 2014). White’s argument is built around the principle that the support relation between evidence and a hypothesis is objective: so that if evidence 𝐸 makes it rational for an agent to believe a hypothesis 𝐻, then 𝐸 makes it rational to believe 𝐻, for all agents. In this paper, I construct a new argument against Extreme Permissivism that appeals to a logically weaker, less demanding view about evidential support, Relational Objectivity: whether a body of evidence 𝐸 is more likely if 𝐻 is true than if 𝐻 is false is an objective matter and does not depend on how any agent interprets the relationship between 𝐸 and 𝐻. Relational Objectivity is solely concerned with the conditional probabilities called likelihoods and does not put substantive constraints on an agent’s prior and posterior credences. For this reason, the presented argument avoids the standard permissivist criticism levelled against White’s argument.