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Profile: Paul D. Thorn (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf)
  1. Paul D. Thorn & Gerhard Schurz (forthcoming). A Utility Based Evaluation of Logico-Probabilistic Systems. Studia Logica:1-24.
    Systems of logico-probabilistic (LP) reasoning characterize inference from conditional assertions interpreted as expressing high conditional probabilities. In the present article, we investigate four prominent LP systems (namely, systems O, P, Z, and QC) by means of computer simulations. The results reported here extend our previous work in this area, and evaluate the four systems in terms of the expected utility of the dispositions to act that derive from the conclusions that the systems license. In addition to conforming to the dominant (...)
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  2. Gerhard Schurz & Paul D. Thorn (2014). TTB Vs. Franklin's Rule in Environments of Different Redundancy. Frontiers in Psychology.
    This is an appendix to the paper "Cognitive Success: Instrumental Justifications of Normative Systems of Reasoning".
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  3. Paul D. Thorn (2014). Defeasible Conditionalization. Journal of Philosophical Logic 43:283-302.
    The applicability of Bayesian conditionalization in setting one’s posterior probability for a proposition, α, is limited to cases where the value of a corresponding prior probability, PPRI(α|∧E), is available, where ∧E represents one’s complete body of evidence. In order to extend probability updating to cases where the prior probabilities needed for Bayesian conditionalization are unavailable, I introduce an inference schema, defeasible conditionalization, which allows one to update one’s personal probability in a proposition by conditioning on a proposition that represents a (...)
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  4. Paul D. Thorn (2013). Cognitivist Probabilism. In Vit Punochar & Petr Svarny (eds.), The Logica Yearbook 2012. College Publications. 201-213.
    In this article, I introduce the term “cognitivism” as a name for the thesis that degrees of belief are equivalent to full beliefs about truth-valued propositions. The thesis (of cognitivism) that degrees of belief are equivalent to full beliefs is equivocal, inasmuch as different sorts of equivalence may be postulated between degrees of belief and full beliefs. The simplest sort of equivalence (and the sort of equivalence that I discuss here) identifies having a given degree of belief with having a (...)
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  5. Gerhard Schurz & Paul D. Thorn (2012). REWARD VERSUS RISK IN UNCERTAIN INFERENCE: THEOREMS AND SIMULATIONS. Review of Symbolic Logic 5 (4):574-612.
    Systems of logico-probabilistic (LP) reasoning characterize inference from conditional assertions that express high conditional probabilities. In this paper we investigate four prominent LP systems, the systems O, P, Z, and QC. These systems differ in the number of inferences they licence (O ⊂ P ⊂ Z ⊂ QC). LP systems that license more inferences enjoy the possible reward of deriving more true and informative conclusions, but with this possible reward comes the risk of drawing more false or uninformative conclusions. In (...)
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  6. Paul D. Thorn (2012). Two Problems of Direct Inference. Erkenntnis 76 (3):299-318.
    The article begins by describing two longstanding problems associated with direct inference. One problem concerns the role of uninformative frequency statements in inferring probabilities by direct inference. A second problem concerns the role of frequency statements with gerrymandered reference classes. I show that past approaches to the problem associated with uninformative frequency statements yield the wrong conclusions in some cases. I propose a modification of Kyburg’s approach to the problem that yields the right conclusions. Past theories of direct inference have (...)
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  7. Paul D. Thorn & Gerhard Schurz (2012). Meta-Induction and the Wisdom of Crowds. Analyse and Kritik 34 (2):339-366.
    Meta-induction, in its various forms, is an imitative prediction method, where the prediction methods and the predictions of other agents are imitated to the extent that those methods or agents have proven successful in the past. In past work, Schurz demonstrated the optimality of meta-induction as a method for predicting unknown events and quantities. However, much recent discussion, along with formal and empirical work, on the Wisdom of Crowds has extolled the virtue of diverse and independent judgment as essential to (...)
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  8. Paul D. Thorn (2011). Undercutting Defeat Via Reference Properties of Differing Arity: A Reply to Pust. Analysis 71 (4):662-667.
    In a recent article, Joel Pust argued that direct inference based on reference properties of differing arity are incommensurable, and so direct inference cannot be used to resolve the Sleeping Beauty problem. After discussing the defects of Pust's argument, I offer reasons for thinking that direct inferences based on reference properties of differing arity are commensurable, and that we should prefer direct inferences based on logically stronger reference properties, regardless of arity.
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  9. Ian Evans, Don Fallis, Peter Gross, Terry Horgan, Jenann Ismael, John Pollock, Paul D. Thorn, Jacob N. Caton, Adam Arico, Daniel Sanderman, Orlin Vakerelov, Nathan Ballantyne, Matthew S. Bedke, Brian Fiala & Martin Fricke (2007). An Objectivist Argument for Thirdism. Analysis 68.
    Bayesians take “definite” or “single-case” probabilities to be basic. Definite probabilities attach to closed formulas or propositions. We write them here using small caps: PROB(P) and PROB(P/Q). Most objective probability theories begin instead with “indefinite” or “general” probabilities (sometimes called “statistical probabilities”). Indefinite probabilities attach to open formulas or propositions. We write indefinite probabilities using lower case “prob” and free variables: prob(Bx/Ax). The indefinite probability of an A being a B is not about any particular A, but rather about the (...)
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  10. Paul D. Thorn (2007). Three Problems of Direct Inference. Dissertation, University of Arizona
  11. Paul D. Thorn (2007). The Trouble with Pollock’s Principle of Agreement. The Reasoner 1 (8):9-10.
  12. Paul D. Thorn (2001). Paraconsistency and the Image of Science. In John Woods & Bryson Brown (eds.), Logical Consequence: Rival Approaches. Hermes Science Publishing.
  13. Paul D. Thorn (1998). The Normative Character of Interpretation and Mental Explanation. Dissertation, Simon Fraser University
    This essay is devoted to the study of useful ways of thinking about the nature of interpretation, with particular attention being given to the so called normative character of mental explanation. My aim of illuminating the nature of interpretation will be accomplished by examining several views, some of which are common to both Donald Davidson and Daniel Dennett, concerning its unique characteristics as a method of prediction and explanation. Moreover, some of the views held by Davidson and Dennett will be (...)
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