Subjective Probability and the Problem of Countable Additivity

Filozofia Nauki 17 (1) (2009)
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The aim of this paper is to present and analyse Bruno de Finetti's view that the axiom of countable additivity of the probability calculus cannot be justified in terms of the subjective interpretation of probability. After presenting the core of the subjective theory of probability and the main de Finetti's argument against the axiom of countable additivity (the so called de Finetti's infinite lottery) I argue against de Finetti's view. In particular, I claim that de Finetti does not prove the impossibility of using Dutch Book argument for the axiom of countable additivity. Consequently, we can use Dutch Book argument for the justification of the axiom of countable additivity and regard de Finetti's lottery as a special case when the axiom does not hold, or we can justify countable additivity by Dutch Book argument and reject de Finetti's lottery as irrational. The second strategy, represented especially by Jon Williamson, is much more compatible with the idea of subjective interpretation of probability



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