Philosophical Studies 161 (2):247-261 (2012)

Authors
David Harker
East Tennessee State University
Abstract
The judgment that a given event is epistemically improbable is necessary but insufficient for us to conclude that the event is surprising. Paul Horwich has argued that surprising events are, in addition, more probable given alternative background assumptions that are not themselves extremely improbable. I argue that Horwich’s definition fails to capture important features of surprises and offer an alternative definition that accords better with intuition. An important application of Horwich’s analysis has arisen in discussions of fine-tuning arguments. In the second part of the paper I consider the implications for this argument of employing my definition of surprise. I argue that advocates of fine-tuning arguments are not justified in attaching significance to the fact that we are surprised by examples of fine-tuning.
Keywords Surprise  Fine-tuning  Horwich  Multiverse  Intelligent design
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9732-3
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References found in this work BETA

Probability and Evidence.Paul Horwich - 1982 - Cambridge University Press.
Universes.John Leslie - 1989 - Routledge.
Review of Metaphysics, Peter van Inwagen. [REVIEW]Timothy O'Connor - 1993 - Philosophical Review 104 (2):314-317.

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Citations of this work BETA

What Makes Something Surprising?Dan Baras & Oded Na’Aman - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Skeptheism: Is Knowledge of God’s Existence Possible?Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (1):41-64.
Probability and Proximity in Surprise.Tomoji Shogenji - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):10939-10957.
How Can Necessary Facts Call for Explanation?Dan Baras - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):11607-11624.

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