David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In J. Dubucs (ed.), Philosophy of Probability. Kluwer, Dordrecht 223-252 (1993)
And this paper is an attempt to say precisely how, thus addressing a philosophical problem which is commonly taken to be a serious one. It does so, however, in quite an idiosyncratic way. It is based on the account of inductive schemes I have given in (1988) and (1990a) and on the conception of causation I have presented in (1980), (1983), and (1990b), and it intends to fill one of many gaps which have been left by these papers. Still, I have tried to make this paper self-contained. Section 1 explains the philosophical question this paper is about; in more general terms it asks what might be meant by objectifying epistemic states or features of them and to which extent epistemic states can be objectified. The next sections introduce the basis I rely on with formal precision and some explanation; section 2 deals with induction and section 3 with causation. Within these confines, section 4 attempts to give an explication of the relevant sense of objectification and section 5 investigates the extent to which various features of epistemic states are objectifiable. The two most salient results are roughly that the relation "A is a reason for B" cannot be objectified at all and that the relation "A is a cause of B" can be objectified only under substantial, though reasonable restrictions. What has all of this to do with probability? A lot. The paper trades on a pervasive duality between probabilistic and deterministic epistemology, between a probabilistic representation of epistemic states together with a theory of probabilistic causation and another representation of epistemic states which I call deterministic because it lends itself, in a perfectly parallel fashion, to a theory of deterministic causation. Here I explicitly deal only with the deterministic side, but the duality should pave the way for further conclusions concerning objective probabilities and statistical laws. This outlook is briefly expanded in the final section 6
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