David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of Science 68 (1):36-52 (2001)
Following Nancy Cartwright and others, I suggest that most (if not all) theories incorporate, or depend on, one or more idealizing assumptions. I then argue that such theories ought to be regimented as counterfactuals, the antecedents of which are simplifying assumptions. If this account of the logic form of theories is granted, then a serious problem arises for Bayesians concerning the prior probabilities of theories that have counterfactual form. If no such probabilities can be assigned, the the posterior probabilities will be undefined, as the latter are defined in terms of the former. I argue here that the most plausible attempts to address the problem of probabilities of conditionals fail to help Bayesians, and, hence, that Bayesians are faced with a new problem. In so far as these proposed solutions fail, I argue that Bayesians must give up Bayesianism or accept the counterintuitive view that no theories that incorporate any idealizations have ever really been confirmed to any extent whatsoever. Moreover, as it appears that the latter horn of this dilemma is highly implausible, we are left with the conclusion that Bayesianism should be rejected, at least as it stands.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Michael J. Shaffer (2009). Decision Theory, Intelligent Planning and Counterfactuals. Minds and Machines 19 (1):61-92.
Similar books and articles
Festa, Roberto, Optimum Inductive Methods. A Study in Inductive Probability, Bayesian Statistics, and Verisimilitude.
James Hawthorne (1994). On the Nature of Bayesian Convergence. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:241 - 249.
Branden Fitelson (2002). Putting the Irrelevance Back Into the Problem of Irrelevant Conjunction. Philosophy of Science 69 (4):611-622.
James Hawthorne (2005). Degree-of-Belief and Degree-of-Support: Why Bayesians Need Both Notions. Mind 114 (454):277-320.
Franz Huber (2005). Subjective Probabilities as Basis for Scientific Reasoning? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (1):101-116.
R. G. Swinburne (1970). Choosing Between Confirmation Theories. Philosophy of Science 37 (4):602-613.
M. Wayne Cooper (1992). Should Physicians Be Bayesian Agents? Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 13 (4).
Franz Huber (2005). What Is the Point of Confirmation? Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1146-1159.
Foad Dizadji-Bahmani, Roman Frigg & Stephan Hartmann (2011). Confirmation and Reduction: A Bayesian Account. Synthese 179 (2):321 - 338.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads17 ( #97,082 of 1,100,986 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #80,918 of 1,100,986 )
How can I increase my downloads?