We provide self-contained proof of a theorem relating probabilistic coherence of forecasts to their non-domination by rival forecasts with respect to any proper scoring rule. The theorem recapitulates insights achieved by other investigators, and clarifi es the connection of coherence and proper scoring rules to Bregman divergence.
Most speakers experience unclarity about the application of predicates like tall and red to liminal cases. We formulate alternative psychological hypotheses about the nature of this unclarity, and report experiments that provide a partial test of them. A psychologized version of the ‘vagueness-as-ignorance’ theory is then advanced and defended.
Because the conjunction pandq implies p, the value of a bet on pandq cannot exceed the value of a bet on p at the same stakes. We tested recognition of this principle in a betting paradigm that (a) discouraged misreading p as pandnotq, and (b) encouraged genuinely conjunctive reading of pandq. Frequent violations were nonetheless observed. The findings appear to discredit the idea that most people spontaneously integrate the logic of conjunction into their assessments of chance.
We advance a theory of inductive reasoning based on similarity, and test it on arguments involving mammal categories. To measure similarity, we quantified the overlap of neural activation in left Brodmann area 19 and the left ventral temporal cortex in response to pictures of different categories; the choice of of these regions is motivated by previous literature. The theory was tested against probability judgments for 40 arguments generated from 9 mammal categories and a common predicate. The results are interpreted in (...) the context of Hume’s thesis relating similarity to inductive inference. (shrink)
A paradigm of scientific discovery is defined within a first-order logical framework. It is shown that within this paradigm there exists a formal scientist that is Turing computable and universal in the sense that it solves every problem that any scientist can solve. It is also shown that universal scientists exist for no regular logics that extend first-order logic and satisfy the Löwenheim-Skolem condition.
Stochastic forecasts in complex environments can beneﬁt from combining the estimates of large groups of forecasters (“judges”). But aggregating multiple opinions faces several challenges. First, human judges are notoriously incoherent when their forecasts involve logically complex events. Second, individual judges may have specialized knowledge, so diﬀerent judges may produce forecasts for diﬀerent events. Third, the credibility of individual judges might vary, and one would like to pay greater attention to more trustworthy forecasts. These considerations limit the value of simple aggregation (...) methods like linear averaging. In this paper, a new algorithm is proposed for combining probabilistic assessments from a large pool of judges. Two measures of a judge’s likely credibility are introduced and used in the algorithm to determine the judge’s weight in aggregation. The algorithm was tested on a data set of nearly half a million probability estimates of events related to the 2008 U.S. presidential election (∼ 16000 judges). (shrink)
Alternative models of idealized scientific inquiry are investigated and compared. Particular attention is devoted to paradigms in which a scientist is required to determine the truth of a given sentence in the structure giving rise to his data.
A model of inductive inquiry is defined within a first-order context. Intuitively, the model pictures inquiry as a game between Nature and a scientist. To begin the game, a nonlogical vocabulary is agreed upon by the two players along with a partition of a class of structures for that vocabulary. Next, Nature secretly chooses one structure ("the real world") from some cell of the partition. She then presents the scientist with a sequence of atomic facts about the chosen structure. With (...) each new datum the scientist announces a guess about the cell to which the chosen structure belongs. To succeed in his inquiry, the scientist's successive conjectures must be correct all but finitely often, that is, the conjectures must converge in the limit to the correct cell. A special kind of scientist selects his hypotheses on the basis of a belief revision operator. We show that reliance on belief revision allows scientists to solve a wide class of problems. (shrink)
The classical theory of preference among monetary bets represents people as expected utility maximizers with concave utility functions. Critics of this account often rely on assumptions about preferences over wide ranges of total wealth. We derive a prediction of the theory that bears on bets at any fixed level of wealth, and test the prediction behaviorally. Our results are discrepant with the classical account. Competing theories are also examined in light of our data.
A glance at the sky raises my probability of rain to .7. As it happens, the conditional probabilities of each state given rain remain the same, and similarly for their conditional probabilities given no rain. As Jeffrey (1983, Ch. 11) points out, my new distribution P2 is therefore fixed by the law of total probability. For example, P2(RC) = P2(RC | R)P2(R)+P2(RC | ¯.
Scientific inquiry is represented as a process of rational hypothesis revision in the face of data. For the concept of rationality, we rely on the theory of belief dynamics as developed in [5, 9]. Among other things, it is shown that if belief states are left unclosed under deductive logic then scientific theories can be expanded in a uniform, consistent fashion that allows inquiry to proceed by any method of hypothesis revision based on "kernel" contraction. In contrast, if belief states (...) are closed under logic, then no such expansion is possible. (shrink)
We consider a panel of experts asked to assign probabilities to events, both logically simple and complex. The events evaluated by different experts are based on overlapping sets of variables but may otherwise be distinct. The union of all the judgments will likely be probabilistic incoherent. We address the problem of revising the probability estimates of the panel so as to produce a coherent set that best represents the group’s expertise.
The remarkable transition from helpless infant to sophisticatedfive-year-old has long captured the attention of scholars interested inthe discovery of knowledge. To explain these achievements, developmentalpsychologists often compare children's discovery procedures to those ofprofessional scientists. For the child to be qualified as a ``littlescientist'', however, intellectual development must be shown to derivefrom rational hypothesis selection in the face of evidence. In thepresent paper we focus on one dimension of rational theory-choice,namely, the relation between hypothesis confirmation and evidencediversity. Psychological research suggests cultural (...) variability inappreciating evidence diversity and lack of such appreciation by youngchildren. Before reaching conclusions about the ``little scientist''thesis, however, it is essential to normatively analyze the diversityissue. We undertake such an analysis within a Bayesianperspective. (shrink)
A model of idealized scientific inquiry is presented in which scientists are required to infer the nature of the structure that makes true the data they examine. A necessary and sufficient condition is presented for scientific success within this paradigm.
We consider two players each of whom attempts to predict the behavior of the other, using no more than the history of earlier predictions. Behaviors are limited to a pair of options, conventionally denoted by 0, 1. Such players face the problem of learning to coordinate choices. The present paper formulates their situation recursion theoretically, and investigates the prospects for success. A pair of players build up a matrix with two rows and infinitely many columns, and are said to “learn” (...) each other if cofinitely many of the columns show the same number in both rows (either 0 or 1). Among other results we prove that there are two collections of players that force all other players to choose their camp. Each collection is composed of players that learn everyone else in the same collection, but no player that learns all members of one collection learns any member of the other. (shrink)
A model of inductive inquiry is defined within the context of first‐order logic. The model conceives of inquiry as a game between Nature and a scientist. To begin the game, a nonlogical vocabulary is agreed upon by the two players, along with a partition of a class of countable structures for that vocabulary. Next, Nature secretly chooses one structure from some cell of the partition. She then presents the scientist with a sequence of facts about the chosen structure. With each (...) new datum the scientist announces a guess about the cell to which the chosen structure belongs. To succeed in his or her inquiry, the scientist’s successive conjectures must be correct all but finitely often, that is, the conjectures must converge in the limit to the correct cell. Different kinds of scientists can be investigated within this framework. At opposite ends of the spectrum are dumb scientists that rely on the strategy of “induction by enumeration,” and smart scientists that rely on an operator of belief revision. We report some results about the scope and limits of these two inductive strategies. (shrink)
We advance a theory of inductive inference designed to predict the conditional probability that certain natural categories satisfy a given predicate given that others do (or do not). A key component of the theory is the similarity of the categories to one another. We measure such similarities in terms of the overlap of metabolic activity in voxels of various posterior regions of the brain in response to viewing instances of the category. The theory and similarity measure are tested against averaged (...) probability judgments elicited from a separate group of subjects. Fruit serve as categories in the present experiment; results are compared to earlier work with mammals. (shrink)