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Philosophy of Probability

Edited by Darrell Rowbottom (Lingnan University)
Assistant editor: Joshua Luczak (University of Western Ontario, Georgetown University)
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  1. added 2016-05-03
    Anna Szyrwińska (2015). Relacja między nauką o logicznych możliwościach a zasadą zachowania energii. Rola badań Huygensa i Leibniza dla nowożytnej refleksji nad wolnością woli. IDEA – Studia Nad Strukturą I Rozwojem Pojęć Filozoficznych:191-202.
    The article investigates the relationship between Leibniz’s and Huygens’ theory of possibility and the principle of conservation of energy. It assumes that their criticisms of Cartesian views concerning those questions as well as their own achievements contributed to the formation of a new metaphysical basis for modern discussions on the freedom of the will. There are especially two problems whose role is crucial in this context, namely the question of God’s knowledge of the future conditionals (contingentia futura) and the mind-body (...)
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  2. added 2016-04-26
    Anna Mahtani (forthcoming). Deference, Respect and Intensionality. Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    This paper is about the standard Reflection Principle :235–256, 1984) and the Group Reflection Principle :478–502, 2007; Bovens and Rabinowicz in Episteme 8:281–300, 2011; Titelbaum in Quitting certainties: a Bayesian framework modeling degrees of belief, OUP, Oxford, 2012; Hedden in Mind 124:449–491, 2015). I argue that these principles are incomplete as they stand. The key point is that deference is an intensional relation, and so whether you are rationally required to defer to a person at a time can depend on (...)
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  3. added 2016-04-26
    Feraz Azhar, Testing Typicality in Multiverse Cosmology.
    In extracting predictions from theories that describe a multiverse, we face the difficulty that we must assess probability distributions over possible observations, prescribed not just by an underlying theory, but by a theory together with a conditionalization scheme that allows for selection effects. This means we usually need to compare distributions that are consistent with a broad range of possible observations, with actual experimental data. One controversial means of making this comparison is by invoking the 'principle of mediocrity': that is, (...)
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  4. added 2016-04-26
    Feraz Azhar, Spectra of Conditionalization and Typicality in the Multiverse.
    An approach to testing theories describing a multiverse, that has gained interest of late, involves comparing theory-generated probability distributions over observables with their experimentally measured values. It is likely that such distributions, were we indeed able to calculate them unambiguously, will assign low probabilities to any such experimental measurements. An alternative to thereby rejecting these theories, is to conditionalize the distributions involved by restricting attention to domains of the multiverse in which we might arise. In order to elicit (...)
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  5. added 2016-04-25
    L. Fenton-Glynn, K. Easwaran, C. Hitchcock & J. Velasco, Updating on the Credences of Others: Disagreement, Agreement, and Synergy.
    We introduce a family of rules for adjusting one's credences in response to learning the credences of others. These rules have a number of desirable features. 1. They yield the posterior credences that would result from updating by standard Bayesian conditionalization on one's peers' reported credences if one's likelihood function takes a particular simple form. 2. In the simplest form, they are symmetric among the agents in the group. 3. They map neatly onto the familiar Condorcet voting results. 4. They (...)
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  6. added 2016-04-25
    Cael L. Hasse, A Comprehensive Theory of Induction and Abstraction.
    I present a solution to the epistemological problem of induction. A universal theory of meaning is developed whereby meaning of a proposition is separated from the proposition and how it is represented. The theory has most similarity with Wittgenstein's early picture theory of meaning but with fundamental differences: (1) Meaning of a proposition is characterised by necessary conditions for truth and falsity as opposed to sufficient ones. In this way propositions are not reduced to atomic ones. (2) Certain assumptions form (...)
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  7. added 2016-04-25
    Domagoj Kuić (forthcoming). Predictive Statistical Mechanics and Macroscopic Time Evolution: Hydrodynamics and Entropy Production. Foundations of Physics:1-24.
    In the previous papers, it was demonstrated that applying the principle of maximum information entropy by maximizing the conditional information entropy, subject to the constraint given by the Liouville equation averaged over the phase space, leads to a definition of the rate of entropy change for closed Hamiltonian systems without any additional assumptions. Here, we generalize this basic model and, with the introduction of the additional constraints which are equivalent to the hydrodynamic continuity equations, show that the results obtained are (...)
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  8. added 2016-04-25
    Zalán Gyenis, Gabor Hofer-Szabo & Miklós Rédei, Conditioning Using Conditional Expectations: The Borel-Kolmogorov Paradox.
    The Borel-Kolmogorov Paradox is typically taken to highlight a tension between our intuition that certain conditional probabilities with respect to probability zero conditioning events are well defined and the mathematical definition of conditional probability by Bayes’ formula, which loses its meaning when the conditioning event has probability zero. We argue in this paper that the theory of conditional expectations is the proper mathematical device to conditionalize and that this theory allows conditionalization with respect to probability zero events. The conditional probabilities (...)
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  9. added 2016-04-22
    Neri Marsili (forthcoming). Lying and Certainty. In Jörg Meibauer (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Lying. Oxford University Press
  10. added 2016-04-20
    Darrell P. Rowbottom (forthcoming). What Is (Dis)Agreement? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    When do we agree? The answer might once have seemed simple and obvious; we agree that p when we each believe that p. But from a formal epistemological perspective, where degrees of belief are more fundamental than beliefs, this answer is unsatisfactory. On the one hand, there is reason to suppose that it is false; degrees of belief about p might differ when beliefs simpliciter on p do not. On the other hand, even if it is true, it is too (...)
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  11. added 2016-04-19
    J. S. Markovitch, The Psychology of The Two Envelope Problem.
    This article concerns the psychology of the paradoxical Two Envelope Problem. The goal is to find instructive variants of the envelope switching problem that are capable of clear-cut resolution, while still retaining paradoxical features. By relocating the original problem into different contexts involving commutes and playing cards the reader is presented with a succession of resolved paradoxes that reduce the confusion arising from the parent paradox. The goal is to reduce confusion by understanding how we sometimes misread mathematical statements; or, (...)
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  12. added 2016-04-12
    Brian Kim & Anubav Vasudevan (forthcoming). How to Expect a Surprising Exam. Synthese.
    In this paper, we provide a Bayesian analysis of the well-known surprise exam paradox. Central to our analysis is a probabilistic account of what it means for the student to accept the teacher's announcement that he will receive a surprise exam. According to this account, the student can be said to have accepted the teacher's announcement provided he adopts a subjective probability distribution relative to which he expects to receive the exam on a day on which he expects not to (...)
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  13. added 2016-04-11
    Finnur Dellsén (2015). Tvö viðhorf til vísindalegrar þekkingar -- eða eitt? Ritið -- Tímarit Hugvísindastofnunar 15 (1):135-155.
    There are two main approaches to the epistemology of science. On the one hand, some hold that a scientific hypothesis is confirmed to the extent that the hypothesis explains the evidence better than alternative hypotheses concerning the same subject-matter. This idea is often referred to as Inference to the Best Explanation. On the other hand, some hold that a scientific hypothesis is confirmed to the extent that the hypothesis is probable given the evidence. This idea is often associated with Bayesianism (...)
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  14. added 2016-04-09
    Anubav Vasudevan (2013). On the a Priori and a Posteriori Assessment of Probabilities. Journal of Applied Logic 11 (4).
    We argue that in spite of their apparent dissimilarity, the methodologies employed in the a priori and a posteriori assessment of probabilities can both be justified by appeal to a single principle of inductive reasoning, viz., the principle of symmetry. The difference between these two methodologies consists in the way in which information about the single-trial probabilities in a repeatable chance process is extracted from the constraints imposed by this principle. In the case of a posteriori reasoning, these constraints inform (...)
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  15. added 2016-04-09
    Anubav Vasudevan & Haim Gaifman (2012). Deceptive Updating and Minimal Information Methods. Synthese 187 (1):147-178.
    The technique of minimizing information (infomin) has been commonly employed as a general method for both choosing and updating a subjective probability function. We argue that, in a wide class of cases, the use of infomin methods fails to cohere with our standard conception of rational degrees of belief. We introduce the notion of a deceptive updating method and argue that non-deceptiveness is a necessary condition for rational coherence. Infomin has been criticized on the grounds that there are no higher (...)
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  16. added 2016-04-07
    Gordon Belot (forthcoming). Undermined. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-11.
    A popular strategy for understanding the probabilities that arise in physics is to interpret them via reductionist accounts of chance—indeed, it is sometimes claimed that such accounts are uniquely well-suited to make sense of the probabilities in classical statistical mechanics. Here it is argued that reductionist accounts of chance carry a steep but unappreciated cost: when applied to physical theories of the relevant type, they inevitably distort the relations of probability that they take as input.
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  17. added 2016-03-16
    Benjamin Lennertz (forthcoming). Probabilistic Consistency Norms and Quantificational Credences. Synthese:1-19.
    In addition to beliefs, people have attitudes of confidence called credences. Combinations of credences, like combinations of beliefs, can be inconsistent. It is common to use tools from probability theory to understand the normative relationships between a person’s credences. More precisely, it is common to think that something is a consistency norm on a person’s credal state if and only if it is a simple transformation of a truth of probability. Though it is common to challenge the right-to-left direction of (...)
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  18. added 2016-03-07
    Bas C. Van Fraassen & Joseph Y. Halpern (forthcoming). Updating Probability: Tracking Statistics as Criterion. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv027.
    For changing opinion, represented by an assignment of probabilities to propositions, the criterion proposed is motivated by the requirement that the assignment should have, and maintain, the possibility of matching in some appropriate sense statistical proportions in a population. This ‘tracking’ criterion implies limitations on policies for updating in response to a wide range of types of new input. Satisfying the criterion is shown equivalent to the principle that the prior must be a convex combination of the possible posteriors. Furthermore, (...)
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  19. added 2016-03-07
    Gergei Bana, On the Formal Consistency of the Principal Principle.
    Rédei and Gyenis suggest that Lewis’s Principal Principle is meaningful only if it satisfies certain consistency conditions: starting from any assignment of subjective probabilities to some algebra of events, we should always be able to extend our algebra with events of the form “the value of the objective probability of event E is p” and assign subjective probabilities to such events in a consistent manner. We show that this extension is indeed possible in most cases. However, we also argue that (...)
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  20. added 2016-03-07
    Marc Lange (2004). Is Jeffrey Conditionalization Defective By Virtue of Being Non-Commutative? Remarks on the Sameness of Sensory Experiences. Synthese 123 (3):393-403.
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  21. added 2016-03-07
    Jos Uffink (1996). The Constraint Rule of the Maximum Entropy Principle. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 27 (1):47-79.
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  22. added 2016-03-07
    Jos Uffink (1995). Can the Maximum Entropy Principle Be Explained as a Consistency Requirement? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 26 (3):223-261.
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  23. added 2016-03-02
    Don A. Merrell, Doxastic Degrees Vs. Belief Simpliciter.
    As a matter of history, most philosophers appear to believe that beliefs come in degrees. And there are many supporting arguments for "doxastic degrees" which originate from quite different quarters – speculation about the dynamics of belief, the nature of mental states, judgments of probability, and behavior described by decision theory. Still, against them, I submit that: (a) the arguments for doxastic degrees are weak; (b) the opposing view about beliefs simpliciter can explain all the data that (...) degrees are thought to explain; and (c) there are positive arguments based upon solid empirical evidence to support beliefs simpliciter over its more popular rival. (shrink)
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  24. added 2016-02-27
    Hans Rott (2014). Four Floors for the Theory of Theory Change: The Case of Imperfect Discrimination. In Eduardo Fermé João Leite (ed.), Logics in Artificial Intelligence: 13th European Conference (JELIA 2014). Springer 368-382.
    The classical qualitative theory of belief change due to Alchourrón, Gärdenfors and Makinson has been widely known as being characterised by two packages of postulates. While the basic package consists of six postulates and is very weak, the full package that adds two further postulates is very strong. I revisit two classic constructions of theory contraction, viz., relational possible worlds contraction and entrenchment-based contraction and argue that four intermediate levels can be distinguished that play - or ought to play - (...)
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  25. added 2016-02-27
    Hans Rott (2014). Three Floors for the Theory of Theory Change. In Vít Punčochář Michal Dančák (ed.), The Logica Yearbook 2013. College Publications 187-205.
    The theory of theory change due to Alchourrón, Gärdenfors and Makinson ("AGM") has been widely known as being characterized by two sets of postulates, one being very weak and the other being very strong. Commenting on the three classic constructions of partial meet contraction, safe contraction and entrenchment-based construction, I argue that three intermediate levels can be distinguished that play decisive roles within the AGM theory.
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  26. added 2016-02-26
    Alex Voorhoeve, Ken Binmore, Arnaldur Stefansson & Lisa Stewart (forthcoming). Ambiguity Attitudes, Framing and Consistency. Theory and Decision.
    We use probability-matching variations on Ellsberg’s single-urn experiment to assess three questions: (1) How sensitive are ambiguity attitudes to changes from a gain to a loss frame? (2) How sensitive are ambiguity attitudes to making ambiguity easier to recognize? (3) What is the relation between subjects’ consistency of choice and the ambiguity attitudes their choices display? Contrary to most other studies, we find that a switch from a gain to a loss frame does not lead to a switch from ambiguity (...)
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  27. added 2016-02-26
    Hans Rott (2004). Basic Entrenchment. Studia Logica 73 (2):257-280.
    In contrast to other prominent models of belief change, models based on epistemic entrenchment have up to now been applicable only in the context of very strong packages of requirements for belief revision. This paper decomposes the axiomatization of entrenchment into independent modules. Among other things it is shown how belief revision satisfying only the 'basic' postulates of Alchourrón, Gärdenfors and Makinson can be represented in terms of entrenchment.
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  28. added 2016-02-26
    L. J. Cohen (1981). Subjective Probability and the Paradox of the Gatecrasher. Arizona State Law Journal 2 (2).
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  29. added 2016-02-18
    David McCarthy (forthcoming). Probability in Ethics. In Alan Hájek & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Probability. Oxford University Press
    The article is a plea for ethicists to regard probability as one of their most important concerns. It outlines a series of topics of central importance in ethical theory in which probability is implicated, often in a surprisingly deep way, and lists a number of open problems. Topics covered include: interpretations of probability in ethical contexts; the evaluative and normative significance of risk or uncertainty; uses and abuses of expected utility theory; veils of ignorance; Harsanyi’s aggregation theorem; (...)
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  30. added 2016-02-18
    Jan von Plato (1998). Creating Modern Probability: Its Mathematics, Physics and Philosophy in Historical Perspective. Cambridge University Press.
    This is the only book to chart the history and development of modern probability theory. It shows how in the first thirty years of this century probability theory became a mathematical science. The author also traces the development of probabilistic concepts and theories in statistical and quantum physics. There are chapters dealing with chance phenomena, as well as the main mathematical theories of today, together with their foundational and philosophical problems. Among the theorists whose work is treated at some length (...)
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  31. added 2016-02-10
    Paul D. Thorn (forthcoming). On the Preference for More Specific Reference Classes. Synthese:1-27.
    In attempting to form rational personal probabilities by direct inference, it is usually assumed that one should prefer frequency information concerning more specific reference classes. While the preceding assumption is intuitively plausible, little energy has been expended in explaining why it should be accepted. In the present article, I address this omission by showing that, among the principled policies that may be used in setting one’s personal probabilities, the policy of making direct inferences with a preference for frequency information for (...)
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