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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 2014-12-16
    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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  2. added 2014-12-16
    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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  3. 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.
  4. added 2014-12-16
    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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  5. added 2014-12-16
    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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  6. 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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  7. added 2014-12-16
    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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  8. added 2014-12-16
    Giosuè Baggio, Michiel Lambalgen & Peter Hagoort (2014). Logic as Marr's Computational Level: Four Case Studies. Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (4).
    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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  9. added 2014-12-16
    Lucas Hope & Kevin Korb, Bayesian Information Reward.
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  10. added 2014-12-13
    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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. added 2014-11-18
    G. F. Dell’Antonio (forthcoming). On Tracks in a Cloud Chamber. Foundations of Physics:1-11.
    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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  15. 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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  16. added 2014-11-10
    Alexander Gebharter, Addendum to "A Formal Framework for Representing Mechanisms?&Quot;.
    In (Gebharter 2014) I suggested a framework for modeling the hierarchical organization of mechanisms. In this short addendum I want to highlight some connections of my approach to the statistics and machine learning literature and some of its limitations not mentioned in the paper.
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  17. added 2014-11-10
    Timothy Perrine (forthcoming). A Note on Johnson’s ‘A Refutation of Skeptical Theism’. Sophia:1-9.
    In a recent article, David Kyle Johnson has claimed to have provided a ‘refutation’ of skeptical theism. Johnson’s refutation raises several interesting issues. But in this note, I focus on only one—an implicit principle Johnson uses in his refutation to update probabilities after receiving new evidence. I argue that this principle is false. Consequently, Johnson’s refutation, as it currently stands, is undermined.
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  18. 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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  19. added 2014-11-10
    Jennifer Radden (2014). Belief as Delusional and Delusion as Belief. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 21 (1):43-46.
    Richard Mullen and Grant Gillett (2014) decry the oversimplifications that accompany ‘doxastic’ analyses of delusion analogizing them to belief states; particularly, they object to the recent elevation to the status of paradigmatic the ordinary beliefs often understood, in Bayesian terms, as probabilistic estimates of empirical facts. Such an approach ignores the significance of the delusion for the individual, they emphasize, neglecting the delusional person’s conceptions of self and identity in relation to the world. In support of their plea for a (...)
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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. added 2014-10-27
    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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  25. added 2014-10-27
    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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  26. added 2014-10-22
    Roberto Festa (1999). Bayesian Confirmation. In M. C. Galavotti & A. Pagnini (eds.), Experience, Reality, and Scientific Explanation. Kluwer. 55–87.
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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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