Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3213-3242 (2020)

Authors
Nevin Climenhaga
Australian Catholic University
Abstract
The epistemic probability of A given B is the degree to which B evidentially supports A, or makes A plausible. This paper is a first step in answering the question of what determines the values of epistemic probabilities. I break this question into two parts: the structural question and the substantive question. Just as an object’s weight is determined by its mass and gravitational acceleration, some probabilities are determined by other, more basic ones. The structural question asks what probabilities are not determined in this way—these are the basic probabilities which determine values for all other probabilities. The substantive question asks how the values of these basic probabilities are determined. I defend an answer to the structural question on which basic probabilities are the probabilities of atomic propositions conditional on potential direct explanations. I defend this against the view, implicit in orthodox mathematical treatments of probability, that basic probabilities are the unconditional probabilities of complete worlds. I then apply my answer to the structural question to clear up common confusions in expositions of Bayesianism and shed light on the “problem of the priors.”
Keywords Bayesian epistemology  Bayesian networks  Explanation  Probability  Inference to the best explanation
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Reprint years 2019, 2020
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-019-01367-0
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Logical Foundations of Probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago, IL, USA: Chicago University of Chicago Press.
The Logic of Decision.Richard C. Jeffrey - 1965 - New York, NY, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

How Explanation Guides Confirmation.Nevin Climenhaga - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):359-68.
Evidence and Inductive Inference.Nevin Climenhaga - 2021 - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton Littlejohn (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence. Routledge.
Inference to the Best Explanation Made Incoherent.Nevin Climenhaga - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (5):251-273.

View all 14 citations / Add more citations

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