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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 2015-03-04
    Louis Marchildon (forthcoming). Why I Am Not a QBist. Foundations of Physics:1-8.
    Quantum Bayesianism, or QBism, is a recent development of the epistemic view of quantum states, according to which the state vector represents knowledge about a quantum system, rather than the true state of the system. QBism explicitly adopts the subjective view of probability, wherein probability assignments express an agent’s personal degrees of belief about an event. QBists claim that most if not all conceptual problems of quantum mechanics vanish if we simply take a proper epistemic and probabilistic perspective. Although this (...)
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  2. added 2015-03-04
    Gábor Hofer-Szabó (forthcoming). Relating Bell’s Local Causality to the Causal Markov Condition. Foundations of Physics:1-27.
    The aim of the paper is to relate Bell’s notion of local causality to the Causal Markov Condition. To this end, first a framework, called local physical theory, will be introduced integrating spatiotemporal and probabilistic entities and the notions of local causality and Markovity will be defined. Then, illustrated in a simple stochastic model, it will be shown how a discrete local physical theory transforms into a Bayesian network and how the Causal Markov Condition arises as a special case of (...)
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  3. added 2015-03-03
    Alon Drory (forthcoming). Failure and Uses of Jaynes’ Principle of Transformation Groups. Foundations of Physics:1-22.
    Bertand’s paradox is a fundamental problem in probability that casts doubt on the applicability of the indifference principle by showing that it may yield contradictory results, depending on the meaning assigned to “randomness”. Jaynes claimed that symmetry requirements solve the paradox by selecting a unique solution to the problem. I show that this is not the case and that every variant obtained from the principle of indifference can also be obtained from Jaynes’ principle of transformation groups. This is because the (...)
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  4. added 2015-03-03
    Gerd Niestegge (forthcoming). Dynamical Correspondence in a Generalized Quantum Theory. Foundations of Physics:1-10.
    In order to figure out why quantum physics needs the complex Hilbert space, many attempts have been made to distinguish the C*-algebras and von Neumann algebras in more general classes of abstractly defined Jordan algebras . One particularly important distinguishing property was identified by Alfsen and Shultz and is the existence of a dynamical correspondence. It reproduces the dual role of the selfadjoint operators as observables and generators of dynamical groups in quantum mechanics. In the paper, this concept is extended (...)
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  5. added 2015-02-23
    Vincent Conitzer (forthcoming). A Dutch Book Against Sleeping Beauties Who Are Evidential Decision Theorists. Synthese:1-13.
    In the context of the Sleeping Beauty problem, it has been argued that so-called “halfers” can avoid Dutch book arguments by adopting evidential decision theory. I introduce a Dutch book for a variant of the Sleeping Beauty problem and argue that evidential decision theorists fall prey to it, whether they are halfers or thirders. The argument crucially requires that an action can provide evidence for what the agent would do not only at other decision points where she has exactly the (...)
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  6. added 2015-02-17
    Timothy Childers ( 2012). Objectifying Subjective Probabilities: Dutch Book Arguments for Principles of Direct Inference. In Probabilities, Laws, and Structures.
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  7. added 2015-02-09
    Namjoong Kim (forthcoming). Titelbaum’s Theory of De Se Updating and Two Versions of Sleeping Beauty. Erkenntnis:1-20.
    In his “Relevance of Self-locating Belief” , Titelbaum suggests a general theory about how to update one’s degrees of self-locating belief. He applies it to the Sleeping Beauty problem, more specifically, Lewis’s :171–176, 2001) version of that problem. By doing so, he defends the Thirder solution to the puzzle. Unfortunately, if we modify the puzzle very slightly, and if we apply his general updating theory to the thus modified version, we get the Halfer view as a result. In this paper, (...)
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  8. added 2015-02-09
    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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  9. added 2015-02-02
    Ulf Hlobil (forthcoming). Chains of Inferences and the New Paradigm in the Psychology of Reasoning. Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-16.
    The new paradigm in the psychology of reasoning draws on Bayesian formal frameworks, and some advocates of the new paradigm think of these formal frameworks as providing a computational-level theory of rational human inference. I argue that Bayesian theories should not be seen as providing a computational-level theory of rational human inference, where by “Bayesian theories” I mean theories that claim that all rational credal states are probabilistically coherent and that rational adjustments of degrees of belief in the light of (...)
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  10. added 2015-02-02
    Leendert Huisman (forthcoming). Reflecting on Finite Additivity. Synthese:1-13.
    An infinite lottery experiment seems to indicate that Bayesian conditionalization may be inconsistent when the prior credence function is finitely additive because, in that experiment, it conflicts with the principle of reflection. I will show that any other form of updating credences would produce the same conflict, and, furthermore, that the conflict is not between conditionalization and reflection but, instead, between finite additivity and reflection. A correct treatment of the infinite lottery experiment requires a careful treatment of finite additivity. I (...)
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  11. added 2015-02-02
    Sylvia Wenmackers & Jan-Willem Romeijn (forthcoming). New Theory About Old Evidence. Synthese:1-26.
    We present a conservative extension of a Bayesian account of confirmation that can deal with the problem of old evidence and new theories. So-called open-minded Bayesianism challenges the assumption—implicit in standard Bayesianism—that the correct empirical hypothesis is among the ones currently under consideration. It requires the inclusion of a catch-all hypothesis, which is characterized by means of sets of probability assignments. Upon the introduction of a new theory, the former catch-all is decomposed into a new empirical hypothesis and a new (...)
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  12. added 2015-02-02
    Julia Staffel (forthcoming). Measuring the Overall Incoherence of Credence Functions. Synthese:1-27.
    Many philosophers hold that the probability axioms constitute norms of rationality governing degrees of belief. This view, known as subjective Bayesianism, has been widely criticized for being too idealized. It is claimed that the norms on degrees of belief postulated by subjective Bayesianism cannot be followed by human agents, and hence have no normative force for beings like us. This problem is especially pressing since the standard framework of subjective Bayesianism only allows us to distinguish between two kinds of credence (...)
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  13. added 2015-02-02
    Cory Juhl (2015). Statistical Data and Mathematical Propositions. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):n/a-n/a.
    Statistical tests of the primality of some numbers look similar to statistical tests of many nonmathematical, clearly empirical propositions. Yet interpretations of probability prima facie appear to preclude the possibility of statistical tests of mathematical propositions. For example, it is hard to understand how the statement that n is prime could have a frequentist probability other than 0 or 1. On the other hand, subjectivist approaches appear to be saddled with ‘coherence’ constraints on rational probabilities that require rational agents to (...)
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  14. added 2015-02-02
    Colin Howson (2015). 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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  15. added 2015-02-02
    G. Contessa (2006). Popper On The Logical Possibility Of Universal Laws. Philosophical Writings 31 (1).
    In the appendices to his Logic of Scientific Discovery, Karl Popper presents a number of arguments in favour of the thesis that the logical probability of any universal law in an infinite universe must be zero. According to Popper, from this it follows that any attempt to apply a Bayesian approach to the confirmation of scientific laws is a non-starter—if the prior probability of any hypothesis h is zero = 0), it follows from Bayes Theorem that p = 0 for (...)
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  16. added 2015-02-02
    Alan R. Rhoda (2005). Bayes’s Theorem: Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol. 113. [REVIEW] International Philosophical Quarterly 45 (2):269-270.
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  17. added 2015-02-02
    Ilkka Niiniluoto (2004). Truth-Seeking by Abduction. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 11:57-82.
    In a seminar with the title “Deduction and Induction in the Sciences”, it is intriguing to ask the following questions: Is there a third type of inference besides deduction and induction? Does this third type of inference play a significant role within scientific inquiry? A positive answer to both of these questions was advocated by Charles S. Peirce throughout his career, even though his opinions changed in important ways during the fifty years between 1865 and 1914. Peirce called the third (...)
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  18. added 2015-02-02
    Edward Mcclennen (1998). Rethinking Rational Cooperation. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 5:117-129.
    I want to extend here a line of reasoning that I pursued in Rationality and Dynamic Choice . In that book I argued that the standard Bayesian model of expected-utility reasoning needs to be revised to accommodate a capacity, on the part of rational decision-makers, to effectively coordinate with their own future selves — to be guided by plans that they have deliberately adopted. I also suggested that an analogous line of reasoning might be employed to show that rational agents (...)
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  19. added 2015-02-02
    Brian Skyrms (1998). Bayesian Subjunctive Conditionals for Games and Decisions. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 5:161-172.
    The theory of rational decision has always been implicitly involved with subjunctive and counterfactual conditionals. “If I were to do A, this would happen; if I were to do B that would happen. ” When I have done A, I use the counterfactual: “If I had done B, the outcome would have been worse. ” Counterfactuals are handled so smoothly in decision theory and game theory that they are hardly ever explicitly discussed except in cases where they cause problems. For (...)
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  20. added 2015-02-02
    Peter Hammond (1998). Consequentialism and Bayesian Rationality in Normal Form Games. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 5:187-196.
    In single-person decision theory, Bayesian rationality requires the agent first to attach subjective probabilities to each uncertain event, and then to maximize the expected value of a von Neumann—Morgenstern utility function that is unique up to a cardinal equivalence class. When the agent receives new information, it also requires subjective probabilities to be revised according to Bayes’ rule.
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  21. added 2015-02-02
    Isaac Levi (1998). Prediction, Bayesian Deliberation and Correlated Equilibrium. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 5:173-185.
    In a pair of controversy provoking papers1, Kadane and Larkey argued that the normative or prescriptive understanding of expected utility theory recommended that participants in a game maximize expected utility given their assessments of the probabilities of the moves that other players would make. They observed that no prescription, norm or standard of Bayesian rationality recommends how they should come to make probability judgments about the choices of other players. For any given player, it is an empirical question as to (...)
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  22. added 2015-02-02
    Peter Urbach (1993). Bayes or Bust? A Critical Examination of Bayesian Confirmation Theory by John Earman. [REVIEW] Isis 84:621-621.
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  23. added 2015-02-02
    Deborah Mayo (1991). Scientific Reasoning: The Bayesian Approach by Colin Howson; Peter Urbach. [REVIEW] Isis 82:788-789.
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  24. added 2015-02-02
    Sobel (1987). On the Evidence of Testimony for Miracles: A Bayesian Interpretation. Philosophical Quarterly 37:166-186.
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  25. added 2015-02-02
    Stephen Spielman (1981). Inference, Method and Decision: Towards a Bayesian Philosophy of Science by Roger D. Rosenkrantz. Journal of Philosophy 78 (6):356-367.
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  26. added 2015-02-02
    Christopher J. G. Meacham, Chance and the Dynamics of de Se Beliefs.
    How should our beliefs change over time? The standard answer to this question is the Bayesian one. But while the Bayesian account works well with respect to beliefs about the world, it breaks down when applied to self-locating or de se beliefs. In this work I explore ways to extend Bayesianism in order to accommodate de se beliefs. I begin by assessing, and ultimately rejecting, attempts to resolve these issues by appealing to Dutch books and chance-credence principles. I then propose (...)
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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. added 2015-01-15
    Molly Kao (forthcoming). Unificatory Power in the Old Quantum Theory: Informational Relevance of the Quantum Hypothesis. Philosophy of Science.
  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. added 2014-12-28
    Anna-Maria A. Eder (forthcoming). No Match Point for the Permissibility Account. Erkenntnis:1-17.
    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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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. added 2014-12-16
    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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  36. added 2014-12-16
    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.