A pragmatic argument against equal weighting

Ittay Nissan-Rozen, Levi Spectre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a minimal pragmatic restriction on the interpretation of the weights in the “Equal Weight View” (and, more generally, in the “Linear Pooling” view) regarding peer disagreement and show that the view cannot respect it. Based on this result we argue against the view. The restriction is the following one: if an agent, i , assigns an equal or higher weight to another agent, j , (i.e. if i takes j to be as epistemically competent as him or epistemically superior to him), he must be willing—in exchange for a positive and certain payment—to accept an offer to let a completely rational and sympathetic j choose for him whether to accept a bet with positive expected utility. If i assigns a lower weight to j than to himself, he must not be willing to pay any positive price for letting j choose for him. Respecting the constraint entails, we show, that the impact of disagreement on one’s degree of belief is not independent of what the disagreement is discovered to be (i.e. not independent of j’s degree of belief).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4211-4227
Number of pages17
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Earlier versions of this paper were presented in the Haifa workshop on rational belief and normative commitment (2017) and the Stockholm Higher Seminar in the department of philosophy in Stockholm University (2015). We thank the participants of these events for useful discussions. We especially want to thank David Enoch, Zeev Goldschmidt, Noam Nisan, Orri Schneebaum, and two anonymous referees for their very useful comments and suggestions as well as an anonymous referee from another journal. Levi Spectre?s research was supported by?the Israeli Science Foundation (Grant No. 463/12).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Nature B.V.


  • Bayesian conditionalization
  • Expected utility maximization
  • Linear pooling
  • Peer disagreement
  • The equal weight view


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