Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

James is polite and punctual (and useless): a Bayesian formalisation of faint praise

Harris, Adam J. L., Corner, Adam J. and Hahn, Ulrike 2013. James is polite and punctual (and useless): a Bayesian formalisation of faint praise. Thinking & Reasoning 19 (3-4) , pp. 414-429. 10.1080/13546783.2013.801367

PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (286kB) | Preview


“Damned by faint praise” is the phenomenon whereby weak positive information leads to a negative change in belief. This seemingly conflicts with normative Bayesian predictions, which prescribe that positive information should only exert a positive change in belief. We argue that the negative belief change is due to an inference from critical missing evidence; that is, an implicit argument from ignorance. Such an inference is readily incorporated within a version of Bayes’ theorem incorporating the concept of epistemic closure. This reformalisation provides a general theoretical framework for the phenomenon that clearly outlines those conditions under which it should be observed, and its conceptual relationship with other argumentation phenomena.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Belief revision, Bayesian probability, Argumentation, Persuasion, Testimony, Pragmatics
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1354-6783
Funders: ESRC
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2017 04:02

Citation Data

Cited 1 time in Google Scholar. View in Google Scholar

Cited 7 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Cited 2 times in Web of Science. View in Web of Science.

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item

Full Text Downloads from ORCA for this publication

Top Downloads of this item by Country

Monthly Full Text Downloads of this item

More statistics for this item...