The Linda paradox is a key topic in current debates on the rationality of human reasoning and its limitations. We present a novel analysis of this paradox, based on the notion of verisimilitude as studied in the philosophy of science. The comparison with an alternative analysis based on probabilistic confirmation suggests how to overcome some problems of our account by introducing an adequately defined notion of verisimilitudinarian confirmation.
Crupi et al. (Think Reason 14:182–199, 2008) have recently advocated and partially worked out an account of the conjunction fallacy phenomenon based on the Bayesian notion of confirmation. In response, Schupbach (2009) presented a critical discussion as following from some novel experimental results. After providing a brief restatement and clarification of the meaning and scope of our original proposal, we will outline Schupbach’s results and discuss his interpretation thereof arguing that they do not actually undermine our point of view if (...) properly construed. Finally, we will foster such a claim by means of some novel data. (shrink)
Theory change is a central concern in contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science. In this paper, we investigate the relationships between two ongoing research programs providing formal treatments of theory change: the (post-Popperian) approach to verisimilitude and the AGM theory of belief change. We show that appropriately construed accounts emerging from those two lines of epistemological research do yield convergences relative to a specified kind of theories, here labeled “conjunctive”. In this domain, a set of plausible conditions are identified which (...) demonstrably capture the verisimilitudinarian effectiveness of AGM belief change, i.e., its effectiveness in tracking truth approximation. We conclude by indicating some further developments and open issues arising from our results. (shrink)
We provide a 'verisimilitudinarian' analysis of the well-known Linda paradox or conjunction fallacy, i.e., the fact that most people judge the probability of the conjunctive statement "Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement" (B & F) as more probable than the isolated statement "Linda is a bank teller" (B), contrary to an uncontroversial principle of probability theory. The basic idea is that experimental participants may judge B & F a better hypothesis about Linda as compared (...) to B because they evaluate B & F as more verisimilar than B. In fact, the hypothesis "feminist bank teller", while less likely to be true than "bank teller", may well be a better approximation to the truth about Linda. (shrink)
This essay addresses the methodology of philosophy of science and illustrates how formal and empirical methods can be fruitfully combined. Special emphasis is given to the application of experimental methods to confirmation theory and to recent work on the conjunction fallacy, a key topic in the rationality debate arising from research in cognitive psychology. Several other issue can be studied in this way. In the concluding section, a brief outline is provided of three further examples.
The so‐called problem of irrelevant conjunction has been seen as a serious challenge for theories of confirmation. It involves the consequences of conjoining irrelevant statements to a hypothesis that is confirmed by some piece of evidence. Following Hawthorne and Fitelson, we reconstruct the problem with reference to Bayesian confirmation theory. Then we extend it to the case of conjoining irrelevant statements to a hypothesis that is dis confirmed by some piece of evidence. As a consequence, we obtain and formally present (...) a novel and more troublesome problem of irrelevant conjunction. We conclude by indicating a possible solution based on a measure‐sensitive approach and by critically discussing a major alternative way to address the problem. *Received December 2008; revised August 2009. †To contact the authors, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Turin, via Sant'Ottavio 20, 10124 Turin, Italy; e‐mail: email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. (shrink)
Bayesian epistemology postulates a probabilistic analysis of many sorts of ordinary and scientific reasoning. Huber () has provided a novel criticism of Bayesianism, whose core argument involves a challenging issue: confirmation by uncertain evidence. In this paper, we argue that under a properly defined Bayesian account of confirmation by uncertain evidence, Huber's criticism fails. By contrast, our discussion will highlight what we take as some new and appealing features of Bayesian confirmation theory. Introduction Uncertain Evidence and Bayesian Confirmation Bayesian Confirmation (...) by Uncertain Evidence: Test Cases and Basic Principles CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The conjunction fallacy has been a key topic in debates on the rationality of human reasoning and its limitations. Despite extensive inquiry, however, the attempt to provide a satisfactory account of the phenomenon has proved challenging. Here we elaborate the suggestion (first discussed by Sides, Osherson, Bonini, & Viale, 2002) that in standard conjunction problems the fallacious probability judgements observed experimentally are typically guided by sound assessments of _confirmation_ relations, meant in terms of contemporary Bayesian confirmation theory. Our main formal (...) result is a confirmation-theoretic account of the conjunction fallacy, which is proven _robust_ (i.e., not depending on various alternative ways of measuring degrees of confirmation). The proposed analysis is shown distinct from contentions that the conjunction effect is in fact not a fallacy, and is compared with major competing explanations of the phenomenon, including earlier references to a confirmation-theoretic account. (shrink)
Epistemologists and philosophers of science have often attempted to express formally the impact of a piece of evidence on the credibility of a hypothesis. In this paper we will focus on the Bayesian approach to evidential support. We will propose a new formal treatment of the notion of degree of confirmation and we will argue that it overcomes some limitations of the currently available approaches on two grounds: (i) a theoretical analysis of the confirmation relation seen as an extension of (...) logical deduction and (ii) an empirical comparison of competing measures in an experimental inquiry concerning inductive reasoning in a probabilistic setting. (shrink)