Anthropic bias: observation selection effects in science and philosophy

New York: Routledge (2002)
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Abstract

_Anthropic Bias_ explores how to reason when you suspect that your evidence is biased by "observation selection effects"--that is, evidence that has been filtered by the precondition that there be some suitably positioned observer to "have" the evidence. This conundrum--sometimes alluded to as "the anthropic principle," "self-locating belief," or "indexical information"--turns out to be a surprisingly perplexing and intellectually stimulating challenge, one abounding with important implications for many areas in science and philosophy. There are the philosophical thought experiments and paradoxes: the Doomsday Argument; Sleeping Beauty; the Presumptuous Philosopher; Adam & Eve; the Absent-Minded Driver; the Shooting Room. And there are the applications in contemporary science: cosmology ; evolutionary theory ; the problem of time's arrow ; quantum physics ; game-theory problems with imperfect recall ; even traffic analysis. _Anthropic Bias_ argues that the same principles are at work across all these domains. And it offers a synthesis: a mathematically explicit theory of observation selection effects that attempts to meet scientific needs while steering clear of philosophical paradox.

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Nick Bostrom
Oxford University

Citations of this work

The material theory of induction.John D. Norton - 2021 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada: University of Calgary Press.
The Mathematical Universe.Max Tegmark - 2007 - Foundations of Physics 38 (2):101-150.

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