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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 2014-10-16
    David Ellerman, On Classical Finite Probability Theory as a Quantum Probability Calculus.
    This paper shows how the classical finite probability theory (with equiprobable outcomes) can be reinterpreted and recast as the quantum probability calculus of a pedagogical or "toy" model of quantum mechanics over sets (QM/sets). There are two parts. The notion of an "event" is reinterpreted from being an epistemological state of indefiniteness to being an objective state of indefiniteness. And the mathematical framework of finite probability theory is recast as the quantum probability calculus for QM/sets. The point is not to (...)
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  2. added 2014-10-13
    Terence Horgan (forthcoming). Generalized Conditionalization and the Sleeping Beauty Problem, II. Erkenntnis.
    In “Generalized Conditionalization and the Sleeping Beauty Problem,” Anna Mahtani and I offer a new argument for thirdism that relies on what we call “generalized conditionalization.” Generalized conditionalization goes beyond conventional conditionalization in two respects: first, by sometimes deploying a space of synchronic, essentially temporal, candidate-possibilities that are not “prior” possibilities; and second, by allowing for the use of preliminary probabilities that arise by first bracketing, and then conditionalizing upon, “old evidence.” In “Beauty and Conditionalization: Reply to Horgan and Mahtani,” (...)
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  3. added 2014-10-02
    Leszek Wroński (forthcoming). Reichenbach's Paradise. De Gruyter Open.
    Since its introduction by Hans Reichenbach, many philosophers have claimed to refute the idea – known as the common cause principle – that any surprising correlation between any two factors that do not directly influence one another is due to some common cause. For example, falsity of the principle is frequently inferred from falsifiability of Bell’s inequalities. The author demonstrates, however, that the situation is not so straightforward. There is more than one version of the principle formulated with the use (...)
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  4. added 2014-09-26
    Vincent Conitzer (forthcoming). A Devastating Example for the Halfer Rule. Philosophical Studies:1-8.
    How should we update de dicto beliefs in the face of de se evidence? The Sleeping Beauty problem divides philosophers into two camps, halfers and thirders. But there is some disagreement among halfers about how their position should generalize to other examples. A full generalization is not always given; one notable exception is the Halfer Rule, under which the agent updates her uncentered beliefs based on only the uncentered part of her evidence. In this brief article, I provide a simple (...)
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  5. added 2014-09-26
    Martin Smith (forthcoming). Evidential Incomparability and the Principle of Indifference. Erkenntnis:1-12.
    The Principle of Indifference (POI) was once regarded as a linchpin of probabilistic reasoning, but has now fallen into disrepute as a result of the so-called problem of multiple of partitions. In ‘Evidential symmetry and mushy credence’ Roger White suggests that we have been too quick to jettison this principle and argues that the problem of multiple partitions rests on a mistake. In this paper I will criticise White’s attempt to revive POI. In so doing, I will argue that what (...)
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  6. added 2014-09-17
    Weng Hong Tang (forthcoming). Reliability Theories of Justified Credence. Mind.
    Reliabilists hold that a belief is doxastically justified if and only if it is caused by a reliable process. But since such a process is one that tends to produce a high ratio of true to false beliefs, reliabilism is on the face of it applicable to binary beliefs, but not to degrees of confidence or credences. For while (binary) beliefs admit of truth or falsity, the same cannot be said of credences in general. A natural question now arises: can (...)
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  7. added 2014-09-16
    Jeff Dunn (forthcoming). Reliability for Degrees of Belief. Philosophical Studies:1-24.
    We often evaluate belief-forming processes, agents, or entire belief states for reliability. This is normally done with the assumption that beliefs are all-or-nothing. How does such evaluation go when we’re considering beliefs that come in degrees? I consider a natural answer to this question that focuses on the degree of truth-possession had by a set of beliefs. I argue that this natural proposal is inadequate, but for an interesting reason. When we are dealing with all-or-nothing belief, high reliability leads to (...)
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  8. added 2014-09-16
    Ben O.’Neill (2014). Assessing the “Bayesian Shift” in the Doomsday Argument. Journal of Philosophy 111 (4):198-218.
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  9. added 2014-09-16
    William Roche & Elliott Sober (2014). Explanatoriness and Evidence: A Reply to McCain and Poston. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):193-199.
    We argue elsewhere that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant (Roche and Sober 2013). Let H be some hypothesis, O some observation, and E the proposition that H would explain O if H and O were true. Then O screens-off E from H: Pr(H | O & E) = Pr(H | O). This thesis, hereafter “SOT” (short for “Screening-Off Thesis”), is defended by appeal to a representative case. The case concerns smoking and lung cancer. McCain and Poston grant that SOT holds in (...)
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  10. added 2014-09-14
    Antony Eagle (forthcoming). Probability and Randomness. In Alan Hájek & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
  11. added 2014-09-04
    Michael Schippers (2014). Probabilistic Measures of Coherence: From Adequacy Constraints Towards Pluralism. Synthese 191 (16):3821-3845.
    The debate on probabilistic measures of coherence flourishes for about 15 years now. Initiated by papers that have been published around the turn of the millennium, many different proposals have since then been put forward. This contribution is partly devoted to a reassessment of extant coherence measures. Focusing on a small number of reasonable adequacy constraints I show that (i) there can be no coherence measure that satisfies all constraints, and that (ii) subsets of these adequacy constraints motivate two different (...)
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  12. added 2014-08-31
    Dietrich Franz & Christian List, From Degrees of Belief to Beliefs: Lessons From Judgment-Aggregation Theory.
    What is the relationship between degrees of belief and (all-or-nothing) beliefs? Can the latter be expressed as a function of the former, without running into paradoxes? We reassess this “belief-binarization” problem from the perspective of judgment-aggregation theory. Although some similarities between belief binarization and judgment aggregation have been noted before, the literature contains no general study of the implications of aggregation-theoretic impossibility and possibility results for belief binarization. We seek to fill this gap. At the centre of this paper is (...)
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  13. added 2014-08-21
    Isaac Choi (forthcoming). Is Petitionary Prayer Superfluous? Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion.
  14. added 2014-08-19
    Franz Dietrich & Christian List, Probabilistic Opinion Pooling Generalised -- Part Two: The Premise-Based Approach.
    How can different individuals' probability functions on a given sigma-algebra of events be aggregated into a collective probability function? Classic approaches to this problem often require 'event-wise independence': the collective probability for each event should depend only on the individuals' probabilities for that event. In practice, however, some events may be 'basic' and others 'derivative', so that it makes sense first to aggregate the probabilities for the former and then to let these constrain the probabilities for the latter. We formalize (...)
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  15. added 2014-08-19
    Franz Dietrich & Christian List, Probabilistic Opinion Pooling Generalized -- Part One: General Agendas.
    How can different individuals' probability assignments to some events be aggregated into a collective probability assignment? Classic results on this problem assume that the set of relevant events -- the agenda -- is a sigma-algebra and is thus closed under disjunction (union) and conjunction (intersection). We drop this demanding assumption and explore probabilistic opinion pooling on general agendas. One might be interested in the probability of rain and that of an interest-rate increase, but not in the probability of rain or (...)
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  16. added 2014-08-18
    Peter Brössel (forthcoming). Keynes’s Coefficient of Dependence Revisited. Erkenntnis:1-33.
    Probabilistic dependence and independence are among the key concepts of Bayesian epistemology. This paper focuses on the study of one specific quantitative notion of probabilistic dependence. More specifically, section 1 introduces Keynes’s coefficient of dependence and shows how it is related to pivotal aspects of scientific reasoning such as confirmation, coherence, the explanatory and unificatory power of theories, and the diversity of evidence. The intimate connection between Keynes’s coefficient of dependence and scientific reasoning raises the question of how Keynes’s coefficient (...)
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  17. added 2014-08-12
    Paul D. Thorn & Gerhard Schurz (2013). Ampliative Inference Under Varied Entropy Levels. In Christoph Beierle & Gabriele Kern-Isberner (eds.), Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Dynamics of Knowledge and Belief (DKB-2013). Fakultät für Mathematik und Informatik, FernUniversität in Hagen. 77-88.
  18. added 2014-08-08
    Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Yoaav Isaacs (forthcoming). Evil and Evidence. Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion.
    The problem of evil is the most prominent argument against the existence of God. Skeptical theists contend that it is not a good argument. Their reasons for this contention vary widely, involving such notions as CORNEA, epistemic appearances, 'gratuitous' evils, 'levering' evidence, and the representativeness of goods. We aim to clarify some confusions about these notions, and also to offer a few new responses to the problem of evil.
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  19. added 2014-08-08
    Andrew Bacon (forthcoming). Stalnaker's Thesis in Context. Review of Symbolic Logic.
    In this paper I present a precise version of Stalnaker's thesis and show that it is both consistent and predicts our intuitive judgments about the probabilities of conditionals. The thesis states that someone whose total evidence is E should have the same credence in the proposition expressed by 'if A then B' in a context where E is salient as they have conditional credence in the proposition B expresses given the proposition A expresses in that context. The thesis is formalised (...)
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  20. added 2014-08-04
    Simon D'Alfonso (2014). Review of 'Quitting Certainties'. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 34:34-36.
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  21. added 2014-07-31
    Christopher J. G. Meacham (forthcoming). The Meta-Reversibility Objection. In Barry Loewer, Brad Weslake & Eric Winsberg (eds.), Time's Arrow and the Probability Structure of the World.
    One popular approach to statistical mechanics understands statistical mechanical probabilities as measures of rational indifference. Naive formulations of this ``indifference approach'' face reversibility worries - while they yield the right prescriptions regarding future events, they yield the wrong prescriptions regarding past events. This paper begins by showing how the indifference approach can overcome the standard reversibility worries by appealing to the Past Hypothesis. But, the paper argues, positing a Past Hypothesis doesn't free the indifference approach from all reversibility worries. For (...)
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  22. added 2014-07-23
    Nathaniel Sharadin (forthcoming). Problems for Pure Probabilism About Promotion (and a Disjunctive Alternative). Philosophical Studies:1-16.
    Humean promotionalists about reasons think that whether there is a reason for an agent to ϕ depends on whether her ϕ-ing promotes the satisfaction of at least one of her desires. Several authors have recently defended probabilistic accounts of promotion, according to which an agent’s ϕ-ing promotes the satisfaction of one of her desires just in case her ϕ-ing makes the satisfaction of that desire more probable relative to some baseline. In this paper I do three things. First, I formalize (...)
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