Philosophy of Science 68 (1):36-52 (2001)
Following Nancy Cartwright and others, I suggest that most (if not all) theories incorporate, or depend on, one or more idealizing assumptions. I then argue that such theories ought to be regimented as counterfactuals, the antecedents of which are simplifying assumptions. If this account of the logic form of theories is granted, then a serious problem arises for Bayesians concerning the prior probabilities of theories that have counterfactual form. If no such probabilities can be assigned, the the posterior probabilities will be undefined, as the latter are defined in terms of the former. I argue here that the most plausible attempts to address the problem of probabilities of conditionals fail to help Bayesians, and, hence, that Bayesians are faced with a new problem. In so far as these proposed solutions fail, I argue that Bayesians must give up Bayesianism or accept the counterintuitive view that no theories that incorporate any idealizations have ever really been confirmed to any extent whatsoever. Moreover, as it appears that the latter horn of this dilemma is highly implausible, we are left with the conclusion that Bayesianism should be rejected, at least as it stands.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Ceteris Paribus Conditionals and Comparative Normalcy.Martin Smith - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (1):97 - 121.
Decision Theory, Intelligent Planning and Counterfactuals.Michael J. Shaffer - 2009 - Minds and Machines 19 (1):61-92.
Ceteris Paribus Conditionals and Comparative Normalcy.Martin Smith - 2006 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (1):97-121.
Similar books and articles
Should Physicians Be Bayesian Agents?M. Wayne Cooper - 1992 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 13 (4).
Choosing Between Confirmation Theories.R. G. Swinburne - 1970 - Philosophy of Science 37 (4):602-613.
Subjective Probabilities as Basis for Scientific Reasoning?Franz Huber - 2005 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (1):101-116.
Degree-of-Belief and Degree-of-Support: Why Bayesians Need Both Notions.James Hawthorne - 2005 - Mind 114 (454):277-320.
Putting the Irrelevance Back Into the Problem of Irrelevant Conjunction.Branden Fitelson - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (4):611-622.
On the Nature of Bayesian Convergence.James Hawthorne - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:241 - 249.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads185 ( #24,524 of 2,177,962 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #166,489 of 2,177,962 )
How can I increase my downloads?