How Many Alternatives? Partitions Pose Problems for Predictions and Diagnoses

Social Epistemology 23 (3):347-360 (2009)
Abstract
This paper focuses on one matter that poses a problem for both human judges and standard probability frameworks, namely the assumption of a unique (privileged) and complete partition of the state-space of possible events. This is tantamount to assuming that we know all possible outcomes or alternatives in advance of making a decision, but it is clear that there are many practical situations in prediction, diagnosis, and decision-making where such partitions are contestable and/or incomplete. The paper begins by surveying the impact of partitions on the choice of priors in formal probabilistic updating frameworks, and on human subjective probability judgements. That material is followed by an overview of strategies for dealing with partition dependence, including considerations of how a rational agent's preferences may determine the choice of a partition.
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Reprint years 2011
DOI 10.1080/02691720903374042
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References found in this work BETA
A Mathematical Theory of Evidence.Glenn Shafer - 1976 - Princeton University Press.
Inferences From Multinomal Data: Learning About a Bag of Marbles (with Discussion).Peter Walley - 1996 - Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B 58:3-57.
Scale Construction From a Decisional Viewpoint.Michael Smithson - 2006 - Minds and Machines 16 (3):339-364.

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