Finitistic and frequentistic approximation of probability measures with or without σ -additivity

Studia Logica 89 (2):257 - 283 (2008)
In this paper a theory of finitistic and frequentistic approximations — in short: f-approximations — of probability measures P over a countably infinite outcome space N is developed. The family of subsets of N for which f-approximations converge to a frequency limit forms a pre-Dynkin system $D \subseteq \wp (N)$ . The limiting probability measure over D can always be extended to a probability measure over $\wp (N)$ , but this measure is not always σ-additive. We conclude that probability measures can be regarded as idealizations of limiting frequencies if and only if σ-additivity is not assumed as a necessary axiom for probabilities. We prove that σ-additive probability measures can be characterized in terms of so-called canonical and in terms of so-called full f-approximations. We also show that every non-σ-additive probability measure is f-approximable, though neither canonically nor fully f-approximable. Finally, we transfer our results to probability measures on open or closed formulas of first-order languages
Keywords Philosophy   Computational Linguistics   Mathematical Logic and Foundations   Logic
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