"Damned by Faint Praise": A Bayesian account

Abstract

“Damned by Faint Praise” is the phenomenon whereby weak positive information leads to a negative change in belief. However, in a Bayesian model of belief revision positive information can seemingly only exert a positive change in belief. We introduce a version of Bayes’ Theorem incorporating the concept of epistemic closure. This reformalization is able to predict the conditions under which a ‘damned by faint praise’ effect is observed. Moreover, good, parameter-free fits are observed between the Bayesian model and the experimental data. This provides further support for the Bayesian approach to informal argumentation (e.g., Hahn & Oaksford, 2007).


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