Philosophy of Probability

Edited by Darrell P. Rowbottom (Lingnan University)
Assistant editor: Joshua Luczak (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. added 2020-11-23
    The Limits of Partial Doxasticism.Facundo M. Alonso - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Doxasticism is the thesis that intention is or involves belief in the forthcoming action (Velleman, Harman). Supporters claim that it is only by accepting that thesis that we can explain a wide array of important phenomena, including the special knowledge we have of intentional action, the roles intention plays in facilitating coordination, and the norms of rationality for intention. Others argue that the thesis is subject to counterexample (Davidson, Bratman). Yet some others contend that the thesis can be reformulated in (...)
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  2. added 2020-11-21
    Bayesianism and Self-Doubt.Darren Bradley - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    How should we respond to evidence when our evidence indicates that we are rationally impaired? I will defend a novel answer based on the analogy between self-doubt and memory loss. To believe that one is now impaired and previously was not is to believe that one’s epistemic position has deteriorated. Memory loss is also a form of epistemic deterioration. I argue that agents who suffer from epistemic deterioration should return to the priors they had at an earlier time. I develop (...)
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  3. added 2020-11-19
    Mentaculus Laws and Metaphysics.Heather Demarest - 2019 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 23 (3):387--399.
    The laws of nature are central to our understanding of the world. And while there is often broad agreement about the technical formulations of the laws, there can be sharp disagreement about the metaphysical nature of the laws. For instance, the Newtonian laws of nature can be stated and analyzed by appealing to a set of possible worlds. Yet, some philosophers argue the worlds are mere notational devices, while others take them to be robust, concrete entities in their own right. (...)
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  4. added 2020-11-15
    Stochastic Causality.Domenico Costantini, Maria Carla Galavotti & Patrick Suppes (eds.) - 2001 - CSLI.
  5. added 2020-11-10
    Learning as Hypothesis Testing: Learning Conditional and Probabilistic Information.Jonathan Vandenburgh - manuscript
    The history of science is often conceptualized through 'paradigm shifts,' where the accumulation of evidence leads to abrupt changes in scientific theories. Experimental evidence suggests that this kind of hypothesis revision occurs in more mundane circumstances, such as when children learn concepts and when adults engage in strategic behavior. In this paper, I argue that the model of hypothesis testing can explain how people learn certain complex, theory-laden propositions such as conditional sentences ('If A, then B') and probabilistic constraints ('The (...)
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  6. added 2020-11-03
    What is 'Real' in Interpersonal Comparisons of Confidence.Edward J. R. Elliott - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    According to comparativism, comparative confidence is more fundamental than absolute confidence. In a pair of recent papers, Stefánsson has argued that comparativism is capable of explaining interpersonal confidence comparisons. In this paper, I will argue that Stefansson’s proposed explanation is inadequate; that we have good reasons to think that comparativism cannot handle interpersonal comparisons; and that the best explanation of interpersonal comparisons requires thinking about confidence in a fundamentally different way than that which comparativists propose—specifically, we should think of confidence (...)
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  7. added 2020-11-02
    Centering the Principal Principle.Isaac Wilhelm - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    I show that centered propositions—also called de se propositions, and usually modeled as sets of centered worlds—pose a serious problem for various versions of Lewis's Principal Principle. The problem, put roughly, is that in scenarios like Elga's `Sleeping Beauty' case, those principles imply that rational agents ought to have obviously irrational credences. To solve the problem, I propose a centered version of the Principal Principle. My version allows centered propositions to be objectively chancy.
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  8. added 2020-11-02
    Policymaking Under Scientific Uncertainty.Joe Roussos - 2020 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    Policymakers who seek to make scientifically informed decisions are constantly confronted by scientific uncertainty and expert disagreement. This thesis asks: how can policymakers rationally respond to expert disagreement and scientific uncertainty? This is a work of non-ideal theory, which applies formal philosophical tools developed by ideal theorists to more realistic cases of policymaking under scientific uncertainty. I start with Bayesian approaches to expert testimony and the problem of expert disagreement, arguing that two popular approaches— supra-Bayesianism and the standard model of (...)
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  9. added 2020-11-02
    Pragmatic Arguments for Rationality Constraints.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2008 - In Maria Carla Galavotti, Roberto Scazzieri & Patrick Suppes (eds.), Reasoning, Rationality and Probability. pp. 139-163.
    My focus is on pragmatic arguments for various rationality constraints on a decision maker’s state of mind: on his beliefs or preferences. An argument of this kind purports to show that a violator of a given constraint can be exposed to a decision problem in which she will act to her guaranteed disadvantage. Dramatically put, she can be exploited by a clever bookie who doesn’t know more than the agent himself. Examples of pragmatic arguments of this kind are synchronic Dutch (...)
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  10. added 2020-11-01
    The P–T Probability Framework for Semantic Communication, Falsification, Confirmation, and Bayesian Reasoning.Chenguang Lu - 2020 - Philosophies 5 (25):25-0.
    Many researchers want to unify probability and logic by defining logical probability or probabilistic logic reasonably. This paper tries to unify statistics and logic so that we can use both statistical probability and logical probability at the same time. For this purpose, this paper proposes the P–T probability framework, which is assembled with Shannon’s statistical probability framework for communication, Kolmogorov’s probability axioms for logical probability, and Zadeh’s membership functions used as truth functions. Two kinds of probabilities are connected by an (...)
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  11. added 2020-10-29
    Expert Deference as a Belief Revision Schema.Joe Roussos - 2020 - Synthese:1-28.
    When an agent learns of an expert's credence in a proposition about which they are an expert, the agent should defer to the expert and adopt that credence as their own. This is a popular thought about how agents ought to respond to (ideal) experts. In a Bayesian framework, it is often modelled by endowing the agent with a set of priors that achieves this result. But this model faces a number of challenges, especially when applied to non-ideal agents (who (...)
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  12. added 2020-10-26
    Uniqueness and Modesty: How Permissivists Can Live on the Edge.Darren Bradley - forthcoming - Mind.
    There is a divide in epistemology between those who think that, for any hypothesis and set of total evidence, there is a unique rational credence in that hypothesis, and those who think that there can be many rational credences. Schultheis offers a novel and potentially devastating objection to Permissivism, on the grounds that Permissivism permits dominated credences. I will argue that Permissivists can plausibly block Schultheis' argument. The issue turns on getting clear about whether we should be certain whether our (...)
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  13. added 2020-10-26
    Rebooting the New Evidence Scholarship.John R. Welch - 2020 - International Journal of Evidence and Proof 24 (4):351-373.
    The new evidence scholarship addresses three distinct approaches: legal probabilism, Bayesian decision theory and relative plausibility theory. Each has major insights to offer, but none seems satisfactory as it stands. This paper proposes that relative plausibility theory be modified in two substantial ways. The first is by defining its key concept of plausibility, hitherto treated as primitive, by generalising the standard axioms of probability. The second is by complementing the descriptive component of the theory with a normative decision theory adapted (...)
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  14. added 2020-10-22
    Genealogy of Algorithms: Datafication as Transvaluation.Virgil W. Brower - 2020 - le Foucaldien 6 (1):1-43.
    This article investigates religious ideals persistent in the datafication of information society. Its nodal point is Thomas Bayes, after whom Laplace names the primal probability algorithm. It reconsiders their mathematical innovations with Laplace's providential deism and Bayes' singular theological treatise. Conceptions of divine justice one finds among probability theorists play no small part in the algorithmic data-mining and microtargeting of Cambridge Analytica. Theological traces within mathematical computation are emphasized as the vantage over large numbers shifts to weights beyond enumeration in (...)
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  15. added 2020-10-21
    Mark C. Murphy, God’s Own Ethics: Norms of Divine Agency and the Argument From Evil. [REVIEW]Nevin Climenhaga - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (5):587-590.
  16. added 2020-10-20
    Conditional Learning Through Causal Models.Jonathan Vandenburgh - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Conditional learning, where agents learn a conditional sentence ‘If A, then B,’ is difficult to incorporate into existing Bayesian models of learning. This is because conditional learning is not uniform: in some cases, learning a conditional requires decreasing the probability of the antecedent, while in other cases, the antecedent probability stays constant or increases. I argue that how one learns a conditional depends on the causal structure relating the antecedent and the consequent, leading to a causal model of conditional learning. (...)
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  17. added 2020-10-19
    Triviality Results, Conditional Probability, and Restrictor Conditionals.Jonathan Vandenburgh - manuscript
    Conditional probability is often used to represent the probability of the conditional. However, triviality results suggest that the thesis that the probability of the conditional always equals conditional probability leads to untenable conclusions. In this paper, I offer an interpretation of this thesis in a possible worlds framework, arguing that the triviality results make assumptions at odds with the use of conditional probability. I argue that these assumptions come from a theory called the operator theory and that the rival restrictor (...)
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  18. added 2020-10-16
    On the Pragmatic and Epistemic Virtues of Inference to the Best Explanation.Richard Pettigrew - manuscript
    In a series of papers over the past twenty years, and in a new book, Igor Douven has argued that Bayesians are too quick to reject versions of inference to the best explanation or abduction that cannot be accommodated within their framework. In this paper, I survey Douven’s worries and bring to bear a series of pragmatic and purely epistemic arguments to show that Bayes’ Rule really is the only correct way to respond to your evidence.
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  19. added 2020-10-10
    Externalism and Exploitability.Nilanjan Das - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    According to Bayesian orthodoxy, an agent should update---or at least should plan to update---her credences by conditionalization. Some have defended this claim by means of a diachronic Dutch book argument. They say: an agent who does not plan to update her credences by conditionalization is vulnerable (by her own lights) to a diachronic Dutch book, i.e., a sequence of bets which, when accepted, guarantee loss of utility. Here, I show that this argument is in tension with evidence externalism, i.e., the (...)
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  20. added 2020-10-09
    Tightening the Statistical Resurrection Argument.Jude Arnout Durieux - manuscript
    McGrew & McGrew make a solid statistical case for the historicity of the resurrection. This article fills two lacunae in the argument given there, and repairs a conceptual error (making the first lacuna irrelevant in the process).
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  21. added 2020-10-09
    Support for Geometric Pooling.Jean Baccelli & Rush T. Stewart - forthcoming - Review of Symbolic Logic:1-40.
    Supra-Bayesianism is the Bayesian response to learning the opinions of others. Probability pooling constitutes an alternative response. One natural question is whether there are cases where probability pooling gives the supra-Bayesian result. This has been called the problem of Bayes-compatibility for pooling functions. It is known that in a common prior setting, under standard assumptions, linear pooling cannot be non-trivially Bayes-compatible. We show by contrast that geometric pooling can be non-trivially Bayes-compatible. Indeed, we show that, under certain assumptions, geometric and (...)
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  22. added 2020-10-06
    Creative Undecidability of Real-World Dynamics and the Emergent Time Hierarchy.Andrei P. Kirilyuk - 2020 - FQXi Essay Contest 2019-2020 “Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability”.
    The unreduced solution to the arbitrary interaction problem, absent in the standard theory framework, reveals many equally real and mutually incompatible system configurations, or "realizations". This is the essence of universal dynamic undecidability, or multivaluedness, and the ensuing causal randomness (unpredictability), non-computability, irreversible time flow (evolution, emergence), and dynamic complexity of every real system, object, or process. This creative undecidability of real-world dynamics provides causal explanations for "quantum mysteries", relativity postulates, cosmological problems, and the huge efficiency of high-complexity phenomena, such (...)
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  23. added 2020-09-29
    Objective Consequentialism and the Plurality of Chances.Leszek Wroński - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    I claim that objective consequentialism faces a problem stemming from the existence in some situations of a plurality of chances relevant to the outcomes of an agent’s acts. I suggest that this phenomenon bears structural resemblance to the well-known Reference Class problem. I outline a few ways in which one could attempt to deal with the issue, suggesting that it is the higher-level chance that should be employed by OC.
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  24. added 2020-09-26
    Coherence, Truthfulness, and Efficiency in Communication.Sherrilyn Roush - manuscript
    Why should we make our beliefs consistent or, more generally, probabilistically coherent? That it will prevent sure losses in betting and that it will maximize one’s chances of having accurate beliefs are popular answers. However, these justifications are self-centered, focused on the consequences of our coherence for ourselves. I argue that incoherence has consequences for others because it is liable to mislead others, to false beliefs about one’s beliefs and false expectations about one’s behavior. I argue that the moral obligation (...)
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  25. added 2020-09-17
    The Intrinsic Probability of Grand Explanatory Theories.Ted Poston - forthcoming - Faith and Philosophy.
    This paper articulates a way to ground a relatively high prior probability for grand explanatory theories apart from an appeal to simplicity. I explore the possibility of enumerating the space of plausible grand theories of the universe by using the explanatory properties of possible views to limit the number of plausible theories. I motivate this alternative grounding by showing that Swinburne’s appeal to simplicity is problematic along several dimensions. I then argue that there are three plausible grand views—theism, atheism, and (...)
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  26. added 2020-09-17
    From the 'Free Will Theorems' to the 'Choice Ontology' of Quantum.Vasil Penchev - 2020 - Philosophy of Science eJournal (Elsevier: SSRN) 13 (33):1-10.
    If the concept of “free will” is reduced to that of “choice” all physical world share the latter quality. Anyway the “free will” can be distinguished from the “choice”: The “free will” involves implicitly certain preliminary goal, and the choice is only the mean, by which it can be achieved or not by the one who determines the goal. Thus, for example, an electron has always a choice but not free will unlike a human possessing both. Consequently, and paradoxically, the (...)
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  27. added 2020-09-17
    On the Nature of Coincidental Events.Alessandra Melas & Pietro Salis - 2020 - Axiomathes:1-26.
    It is a common opinion that chance events cannot be understood in causal terms. Conversely, according to a causal view of chance, intersections between independent causal chains originate accidental events, called “coincidences.” The present paper takes into proper consideration this causal conception of chance and tries to shed new light on it. More precisely, starting from Hart and Honoré’s view of coincidental events, this paper furnishes a more detailed account on the nature of coincidences, according to which coincidental events are (...)
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  28. added 2020-09-17
    In Algorithms We Trust: Magical Thinking, Superintelligent Ai and Quantum Computing.Nathan Schradle - 2020 - Zygon 55 (3):733-747.
  29. added 2020-09-16
    Dutch Books and Logical Form.Joel Pust - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Dutch Book Arguments (DBAs) have been invoked to support various requirements of rationality. Some are plausible: probabilism and conditionalization. Others are less so: credal transparency and reflection. Anna Mahtani has argued for a new new understanding of DBAs which, she claims, allow us to keep the DBAs for probabilism (and perhaps conditionalization) and reject the DBAs for credal transparency and reflection. I argue that Mahtani’s new account fails as (a) it does not support highly plausible requirements of rational coherence and (...)
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  30. added 2020-09-01
    How Can Experiences Explain Uncertainty?Susanna Siegel - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Can perceptual experiences be states of uncertainty? We might expect them to be, if the perceptual processes from which they're generated, as well as the behaviors they help produce, take account of probabilistic information. Yet it has long been presumed that perceptual experiences purport to tell us about our environment, without hedging or qualifying. Against this long-standing view, I argue that perceptual experiences may well occasionally be states of uncertainty, but that they are never probabilistically structured. I criticize a powerful (...)
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