An empirical critique of two versions of the doomsday argument – Gott's line and Leslie's wedge

Synthese 135 (3):415 - 430 (2003)
I discuss two versions of the doomsday argument. According to ``Gott's Line'',the fact that the human race has existed for 200,000 years licences the predictionthat it will last between 5100 and 7.8 million more years. According to ``Leslie'sWedge'', the fact that I currently exist is evidence that increases the plausibilityof the hypothesis that the human race will come to an end sooner rather than later.Both arguments rest on substantive assumptions about the sampling process thatunderlies our observations. These sampling assumptions have testable consequences,and so the sampling assumptions themselves must be regarded as empirical claims.The result of testing some of these consequences is that both doomsday argumentsare empirically disconfirmed.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
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DOI 10.2307/20117377
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Alastair Wilson (forthcoming). The Quantum Doomsday Argument. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv035.

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