I was just reading the interesting paper When Betting Odds and Credences Come Apart, by Darren Bradley and Hannes Leitgeb, at least in part because of some issues that are coming up in my dissertation about the relations between bets and credences. Their paper is a response to a paper by Chris Hitchcock arguing for the 1/3 answer in the Sleeping Beauty problem, where he shows that if Beauty bets as if her credences were anything other than 1/3, then she is susceptible to a Dutch book.
They end up agreeing that she should bet as if her credences were 1/3, but they argue that this doesn’t mean that her credences should actually be 1/3, because of some similarities this case has to other cases where betting odds and credences come apart. I know at least Darren supports (or has supported) the 1/2 answer in the Sleeping Beauty case, so he’s got a reason to argue for this position.
I think in the end though, their paper has convinced me of the opposite – the correct thing to do in this situation is to bet as if one’s credence is 1/2, even though one’s credence should actually be 1/3! I get the 1/3 credence argument from a bunch of sources (especially Mike Titelbaum’s work on the topic). But for the betting as if one’s credence is 1/2, I might be using the term “bet” in a somewhat non-standard way. However, I think my usage is inspired by my attempt to resist some of the claims of Bradley and Leitgeb.
They give some examples of other cases in which it might look as if one should bet at different odds than one’s credences. For instance, if one is offered a bet on a coin coming up heads, but knows that this bet will only be offered if the coin has actually come up tails, then it looks as if one should bet at odds different from one’s credences. However, they agree that in this case one’s credences change as soon as the bet is offered, and one should bet at odds equal to the new credences.
Their next example is very similar, but without the shift in credences. One is offered a bet on a coin coming up heads, but knows that if the coin actually came up heads then the bet is carried out with fake money (indistinguishably replacing the real money in your and the bookie’s pockets) and is real if the coin actually came up tails. In this case, it looks like one should bet at odds different from one’s credences, which should still be 1/2.
However, I think that in this case what’s going on is that one isn’t really being offered a proper bet on heads at odds of 1/2. Functionally speaking, the money transfer involved will be like a bet on heads at odds of 1. It might be described as a bet at different odds, but I think bets should be individuated in some sort of functionalist way here, rather than according to their description in this sense. Thus, since one’s credence in heads is less than 1, one shouldn’t accept this bet.
Bradley and Leitgeb then say that what goes on in Hitchcock’s set-up of the Sleeping Beauty bets is similar. The bet will be repeated twice if the coin comes up tails (because Beauty and the bookie both forget the Monday bet), and thus this is a situation like the one with the bet that might turn out to be with pretend money, but in the opposite direction. Thus, this bet ends up being one that costs the agent $20 if the coin comes up heads, and wins her $20 if it comes up tails, so it’s functionally a bet at odds of 1/2. I think this is the set of bets she should be willing to accept, but that her credence in heads should be 1/3, so her betting odds and credences should come apart.
Of course, there may be a slight difference between the situations. In this version of the Sleeping Beauty bets, the bet gets made twice if the coin comes up tails, rather than paying off double. Perhaps the fact that it’s agreed to multiple times doesn’t make the same difference that having money replaced by something twice as valuable would. If so, then this bet really was properly described as a bet at odds of 1/3, so that I would no longer think that this is an example where betting odds and credences should come apart.
So I think I don’t really accept the particular claims that Bradley and Leitgeb make in this paper, but it’s only because I’m trying to do something subtle about how to individuate bets in functional terms. I’m sure there are good examples out there on which betting odds and credences could rationally come apart, but I’m not convinced whether the Sleeping Beauty case is one of them.