“A Bayesian Epistemology of Deception”
School of Information
University of Arizona
February 17, 2017
10:00am - 11:00am
Abstract: Intelligence analysts, such as Barton Whaley (1982), J. Bowyer Bell (2003), and Neil C. Rowe and Julian Rrushi (2016), have developed taxonomies of deception techniques, including such things as masking, dazzling, mimicking, and decoying. As an important threat to *knowledge*, the study of deception and its various forms falls within the scope of epistemology. And epistemologists should be able to answer two questions about the deception techniques discussed by intelligence analysts. First, what epistemic consequences do they share such that they all count as deception? Second, how do their epistemic consequences differ such that they count as distinct deception techniques? The philosophers Roderick Chisholm and Thomas Feehan (1977) have proposed an influential scheme for classifying types of deception in terms of their epistemic consequences. But I argue that this scheme is too course-grained to distinguish between the various forms that deception can take because it only utilizes a simple categorical belief model of cognitive states. I show how we can use Bayesian epistemology, which represents cognitive states in terms of credences, in order to understand what unifies and what distinguishes the various deception techniques.