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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 2015-08-02
    Gordon Belot (forthcoming). Curve-Fitting for Bayesians? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Bayesians often assume, suppose, or conjecture that for any reasonable explication of the notion of simplicity a prior can be designed that will enforce a preference for hypotheses simpler in just that sense. Further, it is often claimed that the Bayesian framework automatically implements Occam’s razor—that conditionalizing on data consistent with both a simple theory and a complex theory more or less inevitably favours the simpler theory. But it is shown here that there are simplicity-driven approaches to curve-fitting problems that (...)
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  2. added 2015-08-02
    Gordon Belot (forthcoming). Objectivity and Bias. Mind.
    The twin goals of this essay are: (i) to investigate a family of cases in which the goal of guaranteed convergence to the truth is beyond our reach; and (ii) to argue that each of three strands prominent in contemporary epistemological thought has undesirable consequences when confronted with the existence of such problems. Approaches that follow Reichenbach in taking guaranteed convergence to the truth to be the characteristic virtue of good methods face a vicious closure problem. Approaches on which there (...)
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  3. added 2015-08-01
    Robert Smithson (forthcoming). The Principle of Indifference and Inductive Scepticism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv029.
    Many theorists have proposed that we can use the principle of indifference to defeat the inductive sceptic. But any such theorist must confront the objection that different ways of applying the principle of indifference lead to incompatible probability assignments. Huemer offers the explanatory priority proviso as a strategy for overcoming this objection. With this proposal, Huemer claims that we can defend induction in a way that is not question-begging against the sceptic. But in this article, I argue that the opposite (...)
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  4. added 2015-07-29
    Alex Worsnip (forthcoming). Belief, Credence, and the Preface Paradox. Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Many discussions of the “preface paradox” assume that it is more troubling for deductive constraints on rational belief if outright belief is reducible to credence. I show that this is an error: we can generate the problem without assuming such reducibility. All we need are some very weak normative assumptions about rational relationships between belief and credence. The only view that escapes my way of formulating the problem for the deductive closure constraint is in fact itself a reductive view: namely, (...)
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  5. added 2015-07-16
    Miriam Schoenfield (2015). The Accuracy and Rationality of Imprecise Credences. Noûs 49 (3).
    It has been claimed that, in response to certain kinds of evidence, agents ought to adopt imprecise credences: doxastic states that are represented by sets of credence functions rather than single ones. In this paper I argue that, given some plausible constraints on accuracy measures, accuracy-centered epistemologists must reject the requirement to adopt imprecise credences. I then show that even the claim that imprecise credences are permitted is problematic for accuracy-centered epistemology. It follows that if imprecise credal states are permitted (...)
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  6. added 2015-07-10
    Guillaume Rochefort-Maranda (forthcoming). On the Correct Interpretation of P Values and the Importance of Random Variables. Synthese:1-17.
    The p value is the probability under the null hypothesis of obtaining an experimental result that is at least as extreme as the one that we have actually obtained. That probability plays a crucial role in frequentist statistical inferences. But if we take the word ‘extreme’ to mean ‘improbable’, then we can show that this type of inference can be very problematic. In this paper, I argue that it is a mistake to make such an interpretation. Under minimal assumptions about (...)
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  7. added 2015-06-23
    Jan Sprenger (forthcoming). A Novel Solution to the Problem of Old Evidence. .
    One of the most troubling and persistent challenges for Bayesian Confirmation Theory is the Problem of Old Evidence. The problem arises for anyone who models scientific reasoning by means of Bayesian Conditionalization. This article addresses the problem as follows: First, I clarify the nature and varieties of the POE and analyze various solution proposals in the literature. Second, I present a novel solution that combines previous attempts while making weaker and more plausible assumptions. Third and last, I summarize my findings (...)
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  8. added 2015-06-23
    Aaron Bronfman (2015). Reflection and Self‐Trust. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (2):75-82.
    The Reflection principle expresses a kind of epistemic deference to one's future self. There is a plausible intuitive argument to the effect that, if one believes one will reason well and gain information over time, then one ought to satisfy Reflection. There are also associated formal arguments that show that, if one's beliefs about one's current and future selves meet certain criteria, then one is committed by the axioms of probability to satisfy Reflection. The formal arguments, however, rely on an (...)
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  9. added 2015-06-23
    Gary Ebbs (2014). Conditionalization and Conceptual Change: Chalmers in Defense of a Dogma. Journal of Philosophy 111 (12):689-703.
    David Chalmers has recently argued that Bayesian conditionalization is a constraint on conceptual constancy, and that this constraint, together with “standard Bayesian considerations about evidence and updating,” is incompatible with the Quinean claim that every belief is rationally revisable. Chalmers’s argument presupposes that the sort of conceptual constancy that is relevant to Bayesian conditionalization is the same as the sort of conceptual constancy that is relevant to the claim that every belief is rationally revisable. To challenge this presupposition I explicate (...)
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  10. added 2015-06-18
    Robert Northcott (2015). A Dilemma for the Doomsday Argument. Ratio 28 (3).
    I present a new case in which the Doomsday Argument runs afoul of epistemic intuition much more strongly than before. This leads to a dilemma: in the new case either DA is committed to unacceptable counterintuitiveness and belief in miracles, or else it is irrelevant. I then explore under what conditions DA can escape this dilemma. The discussion turns on several issues that have not been much emphasised in previous work on DA: a concern that I label trumping; the degree (...)
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  11. added 2015-06-06
    Luca Moretti & Tomoji Shogenji (forthcoming). Skepticism and Epistemic Closure: Two Bayesian Accounts. International Journal for the Study of Skepticism.
    This paper considers two novel Bayesian responses to a well-known skeptical paradox. The paradox consists of three intuitions: first, given appropriate sense experience, we have justification for accepting the relevant proposition about the external world; second, we have justification for expanding the body of accepted propositions through known entailment; third, we do not have justification for accepting that we are not disembodied souls in an immaterial world deceived by an evil demon. The first response we consider rejects the third intuition (...)
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  12. added 2015-05-18
    Jürgen Landes & Jon Williamson, Justifying Objective Bayesianism on Predicate Languages.
    Objective Bayesianism says that the strengths of one’s beliefs ought to be probabilities, calibrated to physical probabilities insofar as one has evidence of them, and otherwise sufficiently equivocal. These norms of belief are often explicated using the maximum entropy principle. In this paper we investigate the extent to which one can provide a unified justification of the objective Bayesian norms in the case in which the background language is a first-order predicate language, with a view to applying the resulting formalism (...)
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  13. added 2015-05-18
    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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