David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 156 (3):563--585 (2007)
The reference class problem arises when we want to assign a probability to a proposition (or sentence, or event) X, which may be classified in various ways, yet its probability can change depending on how it is classified. The problem is usually regarded as one specifically for the frequentist interpretation of probability and is often considered fatal to it. I argue that versions of the classical, logical, propensity and subjectivist interpretations also fall prey to their own variants of the reference class problem. Other versions of these interpretations apparently evade the problem. But I contend that they are all “no-theory” theories of probability - accounts that leave quite obscure why probability should function as a guide to life, a suitable basis for rational inference and action. The reference class problem besets those theories that are genuinely informative and that plausibly constrain our inductive reasonings and decisions. I distinguish a “metaphysical” and an “epistemological” reference class problem. I submit that we can dissolve the former problem by recognizing that probability is fundamentally a two-place notion: conditional probability is the proper primitive of probability theory. However, I concede that the epistemological problem remains.
|Keywords||Probability Conditional probability Reference class problem Frequentist Classical Logical Propensity Subjectivist interpretations of probability Kolmogorov Popper|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Elliott Sober (2000). Philosophy of Biology. Westview Press.
D. H. Mellor (2004). The Matter of Chance. Cambridge University Press.
Rudolf Carnap (1962). Logical Foundations of Probability. Chicago]University of Chicago Press.
Bas C. van Fraassen (2010). Belief and the Will. In Antony Eagle (ed.), Journal of Philosophy. Routledge 235-256.
Citations of this work BETA
Lisa Miracchi (2015). Competence to Know. Philosophical Studies 172 (1):29-56.
Luke Glynn (2010). Deterministic Chance. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):51–80.
Peter Baumann (2014). No Luck With Knowledge? On a Dogma of Epistemology. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (3):523-551.
Michael G. Titelbaum (2013). Ten Reasons to Care About the Sleeping Beauty Problem. Philosophy Compass 8 (11):1003-1017.
Alan Hájek (2012). The Fall of “Adams' Thesis”? Journal of Logic, Language and Information 21 (2):145-161.
Similar books and articles
Lucy O'Brien, Final Version: O'Brien, L. F. , 'Solipsism and Self-Reference', European Journal of Philosophy 4:175-194.
Cory F. Juhl (1996). Objectively Reliable Subjective Probabilities. Synthese 109 (3):293 - 309.
EC Barnes (1999). The Quantitative Problem of Old Evidence. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (2):249-264.
C. J. Nix & J. B. Paris (2007). A Note on Binary Inductive Logic. Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (6):735 - 771.
Robert N. Brandon (2005). The Difference Between Selection and Drift: A Reply to Millstein. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):153-170.
Hilary Greaves (2007). On the Everettian Epistemic Problem. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (1):120-152.
M. Albert (2007). The Propensity Theory: A Decision-Theoretic Restatement. Synthese 156 (3):587 - 603.
Peter J. Lewis (2009). Probability, Self‐Location, and Quantum Branching. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):1009-1019.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads136 ( #26,581 of 1,792,244 )
Recent downloads (6 months)20 ( #40,075 of 1,792,244 )
How can I increase my downloads?