Bayesian Scientific Methodology: A Naturalistic Approach

Dissertation, University of Missouri - Columbia (2002)

Can Bayesianism be a naturalistic theory? Bayesianism is a probabilistic approach in the study of scientific arguments that provides a foundation for analyzing scientific judgments and practices. Naturalism, on the other hand, is a program suggesting that philosophical problems are to be dealt by the methods of scientists. The compatibility problem between these two programs arises from the assumption that Bayesianism is a priori or unrealistically idealistic. In this dissertation, I refute this assumption, and suggest how Bayesianism can be developed as a naturalistic scientific methodology. I argue that this assumption is a fundamental ground of some old problems of Bayesianism, such as the subjectivity of Bayesian probability, the problem posed by psychological experiments, and the problem of old evidence. After characterizing these old problems of Bayesianism as the naturalistic challenges and dissolving them by developing Bayesianism as a naturalistic scientific methodology, I conclude that it is very promising that Bayesianism and naturalism are compatible programs
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