Possibility and probability

Erkenntnis 31 (2-3):365--86 (1989)
Abstract
De Finetti was a strong proponent of allowing 0 credal probabilities to be assigned to serious possibilities. I have sought to show that (pace Shimony) strict coherence can be obeyed provided that its scope of applicability is restricted to partitions into states generated by finitely many ultimate payoffs. When countable additivity is obeyed, a restricted version of ISC can be applied to partitions generated by countably many ultimate payoffs. Once this is appreciated, perhaps the compelling character of the Shimony argument will be less overwhelming and the attractiveness of de Finetti's more permissive attitude will become more apparent.I want to push the permissive tendency in de Finetti still further. It seems doubtful that RUIWC should be required as de Finetti apparently suggested. It is also excessively dogmatic and restrictive to require that the credal states of ideally situated rational agents be numerically definite (Levi 1974, 1980). And de Finetti's rejection of objectivism in statistics overreached itself when he dismissed objective probabilities as meaningless metaphysical artefacts (Levi 1986). In this respect, the philosophically most important lessons de Finetti has to teach us are to be found not in his celebrated representation theorem but in his discussions of the relations between 0-probability and possibility, conditional probability and countable additivity. Perhaps, the technical issues involved are remote and pedantic. But the attitude de Finetti sought to inculcate is of profound importance
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References found in this work BETA
Hartry Field (1977). Logic, Meaning, and Conceptual Role. Journal of Philosophy 74 (July):379-409.
Isaac Levi (1974). On Indeterminate Probabilities. Journal of Philosophy 71 (13):391-418.

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