Synthese 193 (4) (2016)

Authors
Jan-Willem Romeijn
University of Groningen
Abstract
We present a conservative extension of a Bayesian account of confirmation that can deal with the problem of old evidence and new theories. So-called open-minded Bayesianism challenges the assumption—implicit in standard Bayesianism—that the correct empirical hypothesis is among the ones currently under consideration. It requires the inclusion of a catch-all hypothesis, which is characterized by means of sets of probability assignments. Upon the introduction of a new theory, the former catch-all is decomposed into a new empirical hypothesis and a new catch-all. As will be seen, this motivates a second update rule, besides Bayes’ rule, for updating probabilities in light of a new theory. This rule conserves probability ratios among the old hypotheses. This framework allows for old evidence to confirm a new hypothesis due to a shift in the theoretical context. The result is a version of Bayesianism that, in the words of Earman, “keep[s] an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out”
Keywords Bayesianism  Confirmation  Old evidence problem  Theory change  Catch-all hypothesis  Formal epistemology  Philosophy of science
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Reprint years 2016
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-014-0632-x
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References found in this work BETA

Bayes or Bust?John Earman - 1992 - Bradford.
What Conditional Probability Could Not Be.Alan Hájek - 2003 - Synthese 137 (3):273--323.

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Citations of this work BETA

Open-Minded Orthodox Bayesianism by Epsilon-Conditionalization.Eric Raidl - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):139-176.

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