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Philosophy of Probability

Edited by Darrell Rowbottom (Lingnan University)
Assistant editor: Joshua Luczak (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. added 2015-01-28
    Ittay Nissan-Rozen (forthcoming). A Triviality Result for the “Desire by Necessity” Thesis. Synthese:1-22.
    A triviality result for what Lewis called “the Desire by Necessity Thesis” and Broome : 265–267, 1991) called “the Desire as Expectation Thesis” is presented. The result shows that this thesis and three other reasonable conditions can be jointly satisfied only in trivial cases. Some meta-ethical implications of the result are discussed. The discussion also highlights several issues regarding Lewis’ original triviality result for “the Desire as Belief Thesis” that have not been properly understood in the literature.
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  2. added 2015-01-17
    Michael E. Cuffaro (2010). Wittgenstein on Prior Probabilities. Proceedings of the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics 23:85-98.
    Wittgenstein did not write very much on the topic of probability. The little we have comes from a few short pages of the Tractatus, some 'remarks' from the 1930s, and the informal conversations which went on during that decade with the Vienna Circle. Nevertheless, Wittgenstein's views were highly influential in the later development of the logical theory of probability. This paper will attempt to clarify and defend Wittgenstein's conception of probability against some oft-cited criticisms that stem from a misunderstanding of (...)
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  3. added 2015-01-15
    Molly Kao (forthcoming). Unificatory Power in the Old Quantum Theory: Informational Relevance of the Quantum Hypothesis. Philosophy of Science.
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  4. added 2015-01-14
    Adam P. Kubiak (2014). A Frequentist Solution to Lindley & Phillips’ Stopping Rule Problem in Ecological Realm. Zagadnienia Naukoznawstwa 50 (2):135-145.
    In this paper I provide a frequentist philosophical-methodological solution for the stopping rule problem presented by Lindley & Phillips in 1976, which is settled in the ecological realm of testing koalas’ sex ratio. I deliver criteria for discerning a stopping rule, an evidence and a model that are epistemically more appropriate for testing the hypothesis of the case studied, by appealing to physical notion of probability and by analyzing the content of possible formulations of evidence, assumptions of models and meaning (...)
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  5. added 2014-12-30
    Yann Benétreau-Dupin (forthcoming). The Bayesian Who Knew Too Much. Synthese:1-16.
    In several papers, John Norton has argued that Bayesianism cannot handle ignorance adequately due to its inability to distinguish between neutral and disconfirming evidence. He argued that this inability sows confusion in, e.g., anthropic reasoning in cosmology or the Doomsday argument, by allowing one to draw unwarranted conclusions from a lack of knowledge. Norton has suggested criteria for a candidate for representation of neutral support. Imprecise credences (families of credal probability functions) constitute a Bayesian-friendly framework that allows us to avoid (...)
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  6. added 2014-12-29
    C. Howson (2014). What Probability Probably Isn't. Analysis 75 (1):53-59.
    Joyce and others have claimed that degrees of belief are estimates of truth-values and that the probability axioms are conditions of admissibility for these estimates with respect to a scoring rule penalizing inaccuracy. In this article, I argue that the claim that the rules of probability are truth-directed in this way depends on an assumption that is both implausible and lacks any supporting evidence, strongly suggesting that the probability axioms have nothing intrinsically to do with truth-directedness.
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  7. added 2014-12-28
    Anna-Maria A. Eder (forthcoming). No Match Point for the Permissibility Account. Erkenntnis.
    In the literature, one finds two accounts of the normative status of rational belief: the ought account and the permissibility account. Both have their advantages and shortcomings, making it difficult to favour one over the other. Imagine that there were two principles of rational belief or rational degrees of belief commonly considered plausible, but which, however, yielded a paradox together with one account, but not with the other. One of the accounts therefore requires us to give up one of the (...)
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  8. added 2014-12-24
    Joffrey K. Peters, Jingyun Fan, Alan L. Migdall & Sergey V. Polyakov (forthcoming). Experimental Bounds on Classical Random Field Theories. Foundations of Physics:1-9.
    Alternative theories to quantum mechanics motivate important fundamental tests of our understanding and descriptions of the smallest physical systems. Here, using spontaneous parametric downconversion as a heralded single-photon source, we place experimental limits on a class of alternative theories, consisting of classical field theories which result in power-dependent normalized correlation functions. In addition, we compare our results with standard quantum mechanical interpretations of our spontaneous parametric downconversion source over an order of magnitude in intensity. Our data match the quantum mechanical (...)
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  9. added 2014-12-24
    Adrian Kent (2015). Does It Make Sense to Speak of Self-Locating Uncertainty in the Universal Wave Function? Remarks on Sebens and Carroll. Foundations of Physics 45 (2):211-217.
    Following a proposal of Vaidman The Stanford encyclopaedia of philosophy, 2014) The probable and the improbable: understanding probability in physics, essays in memory of Itamar Pitowsky, 2011), Sebens and Carroll , have argued that in Everettian quantum theory, observers are uncertain, before they complete their observation, about which Everettian branch they are on. They argue further that this solves the problem of making sense of probabilities within Everettian quantum theory, even though the theory itself is deterministic. We note some problems (...)
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  10. added 2014-12-15
    Remco Heesen (forthcoming). How Much Evidence Should One Collect? Philosophical Studies:1-15.
    A number of philosophers of science and statisticians have attempted to justify conclusions drawn from a finite sequence of evidence by appealing to results about what happens if the length of that sequence tends to infinity. If their justifications are to be successful, they need to rely on the finite sequence being either indefinitely increasing or of a large size. These assumptions are often not met in practice. This paper analyzes a simple model of collecting evidence and finds that the (...)
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  11. added 2014-12-15
    Angelos-Miltiadis Krypotos, Tom Beckers, Merel Kindt & Eric-Jan Wagenmakers (forthcoming). A Bayesian Hierarchical Diffusion Model Decomposition of Performance in Approach–Avoidance Tasks. Cognition and Emotion:1-21.
  12. added 2014-12-15
    Roger Stanev (forthcoming). Early Stopping of RCTs: Two Potential Issues for Error Statistics. Synthese:1-28.
    Error statistics (ES) is an important methodological view in philosophy of statistics and philosophy of science that can be applied to scientific experiments such as clinical trials. In this paper, I raise two potential issues for ES when it comes to guiding, and explaining early stopping of randomized controlled trials (RCTs): (a) ES (via its severity principle) provides limited guidance in cases of early unfavorable trends due to the possibility of trend reversal; (b) ES is silent on how to prospectively (...)
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  13. added 2014-12-15
    Jakob Hohwy (forthcoming). Prediction Error Minimization, Mental and Developmental Disorder, and Statistical Theories of Consciousness. In Rocco Gennaro (ed.), Disturbed Consciousness: New Essays on Psychopathology and Theories of Consciousness. MIT Press.
    This chapter seeks to recover an approach to consciousness from a general theory of brain function, namely the prediction error minimization theory. The way this theory applies to mental and developmental disorder demonstrates its relevance to consciousness. The resulting view is discussed in relation to a contemporary theory of consciousness, namely the idea that conscious perception depends on Bayesian metacognition; this theory is also supported by considerations of psychopathology. This Bayesian theory is first disconnected from the higher-order thought theory, and (...)
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  14. added 2014-12-15
    Matthew Parrott (forthcoming). Bayesian Models, Delusional Beliefs, and Epistemic Possibilities. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axu036.
    The Capgras delusion is a condition in which a person believes that an imposter has replaced some close friend or relative. Recent theorists have appealed to Bayesianism to help explain both why a subject with the Capgras delusion adopts this delusional belief and why it persists despite counter-evidence. The Bayesian approach is useful for addressing these questions; however, the main proposal of this essay is that Capgras subjects also have a delusional conception of epistemic possibility, more specifically, they think more (...)
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  15. added 2014-12-15
    Gavin A. Schmidt & Steven Sherwood (forthcoming). A Practical Philosophy of Complex Climate Modelling. European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-21.
    We give an overview of the practice of developing and using complex climate models, as seen from experiences in a major climate modelling center and through participation in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project . We discuss the construction and calibration of models; their evaluation, especially through use of out-of-sample tests; and their exploitation in multi-model ensembles to identify biases and make predictions. We stress that adequacy or utility of climate models is best assessed via their skill against more naïve predictions. (...)
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  16. added 2014-12-15
    Giosuè Baggio, Michiel Lambalgen & Peter Hagoort (2014). Logic as Marr's Computational Level: Four Case Studies. Topics in Cognitive Science 7 (1).
    We sketch four applications of Marr's levels-of-analysis methodology to the relations between logic and experimental data in the cognitive neuroscience of language and reasoning. The first part of the paper illustrates the explanatory power of computational level theories based on logic. We show that a Bayesian treatment of the suppression task in reasoning with conditionals is ruled out by EEG data, supporting instead an analysis based on defeasible logic. Further, we describe how results from an EEG study on temporal prepositions (...)
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  17. added 2014-12-15
    Jeffrey Dunn (2014). Inferential Evidence. American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (3):203-213.
    Consider: -/- The Evidence Question: When, and under what conditions does an agent have proposition E as evidence (at t)? -/- Timothy Williamson's (2000) answer to this question is the well-known E = K thesis: -/- E = K: E is a member of S's evidence set at t iff S knows E at t. -/- I will argue that this answer is inconsistent with the version of Bayesianism that Williamson advocates. This is because E = K allows an agent (...)
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  18. added 2014-12-15
    Lucas Hope & Kevin Korb, Bayesian Information Reward.
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  19. added 2014-12-12
    Justin Morton & Eric Sampson (2014). Parsimony and the Argument From Queerness. Res Philosophica 91 (4):609-627.
    In his recent book Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence, Jonas Olson attempts to revive the argument from queerness originally made famous by J.L. Mackie. In this paper, we do three things. First, we eliminate four untenable formulations of the argument. Second, we argue that the most plausible formulation is one that depends crucially upon considerations of parsimony. Finally, we evaluate this formulation of the argument. We conclude that it is unproblematic for proponents of moral non-naturalism—the target of the argument from (...)
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  20. added 2014-12-08
    Simon Friederich (2015). Re-Thinking Local Causality. Synthese 192 (1):221-240.
    There is widespread belief in a tension between quantum theory and special relativity, motivated by the idea that quantum theory violates J. S. Bell’s criterion of local causality, which is meant to implement the causal structure of relativistic space-time. This paper argues that if one takes the essential intuitive idea behind local causality to be that probabilities in a locally causal theory depend only on what occurs in the backward light cone and if one regards objective probability as what imposes (...)
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  21. added 2014-11-28
    Luca Moretti, Evidence of Expert's Evidence is Evidence.
    John Hardwig has notoriously argued that evidence that an expert has evidence for a hypothesis P is not evidence for P. In this paper I use Shogenji-Roche's theorem of transitivity of incremental confirmation to show that Hardwig's thesis is false.
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  22. added 2014-11-20
    Franz Dietrich, Christian List & Richard Bradley, A Unified Characterization of Belief-Revision Rules.
    This paper characterizes several belief-revision rules in a unified framework: Bayesian revision upon learning some event, Jeffrey revision upon learning new probabilities of some events, Adams revision upon learning some new conditional probabilities, and 'dual-Jeffrey' revision upon learning a new conditional probability function. Despite their differences, these revision rules can be characterized in terms of the same two axioms: responsiveness, which requires that revised beliefs incorporate what has been learnt, and conservativeness, which requires that beliefs on which the learnt input (...)
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  23. added 2014-11-18
    Carsten Held (forthcoming). Einstein’s Boxes: Incompleteness of Quantum Mechanics Without a Separation Principle. Foundations of Physics:1-17.
    Einstein made several attempts to argue for the incompleteness of quantum mechanics , not all of them using a separation principle. One unpublished example, the box parable, has received increased attention in the recent literature. Though the example is tailor-made for applying a separation principle and Einstein indeed applies one, he begins his discussion without it. An analysis of this first part of the parable naturally leads to an argument for incompleteness not involving a separation principle. I discuss the argument (...)
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  24. added 2014-11-18
    G. F. Dell’Antonio (2015). On Tracks in a Cloud Chamber. Foundations of Physics 45 (1):11-21.
    It is an experimental fact that \ -decays produce in a cloud chamber at most one track and that this track points in a random direction. This seems to contradict the description of decay in Quantum Mechanics: according to Gamow a spherical wave is produced and moves radially according to Schrödinger’s equation. It is as if the interaction with the supersaturated vapor turned the wave into a particle. The aim of this note is to place this effect in the context (...)
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  25. added 2014-11-10
    Ryan Muldoon, Chiara Lisciandra & Stephan Hartmann (2014). Why Are There Descriptive Norms? Because We Looked for Them. Synthese 191 (18):4409-4429.
    In this work, we present a mathematical model for the emergence of descriptive norms, where the individual decision problem is formalized with the standard Bayesian belief revision machinery. Previous work on the emergence of descriptive norms has relied on heuristic modeling. In this paper we show that with a Bayesian model we can provide a more general picture of the emergence of norms, which helps to motivate the assumptions made in heuristic models. In our model, the priors formalize the belief (...)
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  26. added 2014-11-10
    Alexander Gebharter & Gerhard Schurz (2014). How Occam's Razor Provides a Neat Definition of Direct Causation. In J. M. Mooij, D. Janzing, J. Peters, T. Claassen & A. Hyttinen (eds.), Proceedings of the UAI Workshop Causal Inference: Learning and Prediction. CEUR-WS. 1-10.
    In this paper we show that the application of Occam’s razor to the theory of causal Bayes nets gives us a neat definition of direct causation. In particular we show that Occam’s razor implies Woodward’s (2003) definition of direct causation, provided suitable intervention variables exist and the causal Markov condition (CMC) is satisfied. We also show how Occam’s razor can account for direct causal relationships Woodward style when only stochastic intervention variables are available.
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  27. added 2014-11-10
    Mazviita Chirimuuta & David Tolhurst, Does a Bayesian Model of V1 Contrast Coding Offer a Neurophysiological Account of Human Contrast Discrimination?
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  28. added 2014-11-10
    Mazviita Chirimuuta & David Tolhurst, Accuracy of Identification of Grating Contrast by Human Observers: Bayesian Models of V1 Contrast Processing Show Correspondence Between Discrimination and Identification Performance.
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  29. added 2014-11-04
    Vladislav Terekhovich (2013). Philosophical and Methodological Problems of the Principle of Least Action. Dissertation, St. Petersburg State University, Russia
    Twenty extremal principles of the natural sciences are reformulated to the general ontological scheme. The hypothesis is substantiated that the unique role of the principle of least action is based on its probabilistic interpretation. It is shown how most of the variational principles can be reduced to the principle of maximal probability, which is based on a realistic interpretation of Feynman’s path integral method.
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