Getting fancy with probability

Synthese 90 (2):189-203 (1992)
There are a number of reasons for being interested in uncertainty, and there are also a number of uncertainty formalisms. These formalisms are not unrelated. It is argued that they can all be reflected as special cases of the approach of taking probabilities to be determined by sets of probability functions defined on an algebra of statements. Thus, interval probabilities should be construed as maximum and minimum probabilities within a set of distributions, Glenn Shafer's belief functions should be construed as lower probabilities, etc. Updating probabilities introduces new considerations, and it is shown that the representation of belief as a set of probabilities conflicts in this regard with the updating procedures advocated by Shafer. The attempt to make subjectivistic probability plausible as a doctrine of rational belief by making it more flowery — i.e., by adding new dimensions — does not succeed. But, if one is going to represent beliefs by sets of distributions, those sets of distributions might as well be based in statistical knowledge, as they are in epistemological or evidential probability.
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