Hierarchical Bayesian models (HBMs) provide an account of Bayesian inference in a hierarchically structured hypothesis space. Scientific theories are plausibly regarded as organized into hierarchies in many cases, with higher levels sometimes called ‘paradigms’ and lower levels encoding more specific or concrete hypotheses. Therefore, HBMs provide a useful model for scientific theory change, showing how higher‐level theory change may be driven by the impact of evidence on lower levels. HBMs capture features described in the Kuhnian tradition, particularly the idea that (...) higher‐level theories guide learning at lower levels. In addition, they help resolve certain issues for Bayesians, such as scientific preference for simplicity and the problem of new theories. *Received July 2009; revised October 2009. †To contact the authors, please write to: Leah Henderson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, 32D‐808, Cambridge, MA 02139; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
Two of the most influential theories about scientific inference are inference to the best explanation and Bayesianism. How are they related? Bas van Fraassen has claimed that IBE and Bayesianism are incompatible rival theories, as any probabilistic version of IBE would violate Bayesian conditionalization. In response, several authors have defended the view that IBE is compatible with Bayesian updating. They claim that the explanatory considerations in IBE are taken into account by the Bayesian because the Bayesian either does or should (...) make use of them in assigning probabilities to hypotheses. I argue that van Fraassen has not succeeded in establishing that IBE and Bayesianism are incompatible, but that the existing compatibilist response is also not satisfactory. I suggest that a more promising approach to the problem is to investigate whether explanatory considerations are taken into account by a Bayesian who assigns priors and likelihoods on his or her own terms. In this case, IBE would emerge from the Bayesian account, rather than being used to constrain priors and likelihoods. I provide a detailed discussion of the case of how the Copernican and Ptolemaic theories explain retrograde motion, and suggest that one of the key explanatory considerations is the extent to which the explanation a theory provides depends on its core elements rather than on auxiliary hypotheses. I then suggest that this type of consideration is reflected in the Bayesian likelihood, given priors that a Bayesian might be inclined to adopt even without explicit guidance by IBE. The aim is to show that IBE and Bayesianism may be compatible, not because they can be amalgamated, but rather because they capture substantially similar epistemic considerations. 1 Introduction2 Preliminaries3 Inference to the Best Explanation4 Bayesianism5 The Incompatibilist View : Inference to the Best Explanation Contradicts Bayesianism5. 1 Criticism of the incompatibilist view6 Constraint - Based Compatibilism6. 1 Criticism of constraint - based compatibilism7 Emergent Compatibilism7. 1 Analysis of inference to the best explanation7. 1. 1 Inference to the best explanation on specific hypotheses7. 1. 2 Inference to the best explanation on general theories7. 1. 3 Copernicus versus Ptolemy7. 1. 4 Explanatory virtues7. 1. 5 Summary7. 2 Bayesian account8 Conclusion. (shrink)
The no miracles argument is one of the main arguments for scientific realism. Recently it has been alleged that the no miracles argument is fundamentally flawed because it commits the base rate fallacy. The allegation is based on the idea that the appeal of the no miracles argument arises from inappropriate neglect of the base rate of approximate truth among the relevant population of theories. However, the base rate fallacy allegation relies on an assumption of random sampling of individuals from (...) the population which cannot be made in the case of the no miracles argument. Therefore the base rate fallacy objection to the no miracles argument fails. I distinguish between a “local” and a “global” form of the no miracles argument. The base rate fallacy objection has been leveled at the local version. I argue that the global argument plays a key role in supporting a base-rate-fallacy-free formulation of the local version of the argument. (shrink)
Numerous philosophers in recent decades have argued that a partial explanation for how the blessed in heaven are impeccable while remaining free and responsible is that they have cultivated or developed such a virtuous character prior to heaven that once in heaven they are incapable of acting contrary to their virtuously cultivated characters. Further, because the agents are at least partially responsible for the construction of their characters, they can be considered free and responsible with regard to the choices or (...) actions such virtuous characters allow. In what follows I will argue that the impeccability of the blessed is not achieved through a character-development process performed by the blessed themselves. (shrink)
Whatever else a theory of impeccability assumes about the moral life of heavenly agents, it seems to imply something about the type of actions possible for such agents, along with the quality of their moral characters. Regarding these characters, there are many that have argued impeccable and heavenly agents must also be perfectly virtuous agents. Michael Slote has recently argued, however, that perfect virtue is impossible. Assuming Slote’s argument is successful, a theory of impeccability that relies on the possibility of (...) perfect virtue would be greatly harmed, even to the point of incoherence. My intent here is to defend the coherence of the doctrine of impeccability, at least as it applies to the moral life of heavenly agents. (shrink)
Shenker has claimed that Von Neumann's argument for identifying the quantum mechanical entropy with the Von Neumann entropy, S() = – ktr( log ), is invalid. Her claim rests on a misunderstanding of the idea of a quantum mechanical pure state. I demonstrate this, and provide a further explanation of Von Neumann's argument.
It is commonly thought that there is some tension between the second law of thermodynam- ics and the time reversal invariance of the microdynamics. Recently, however, Jos Uffink has argued that the origin of time reversal non-invariance in thermodynamics is not in the second law. Uffink argues that the relationship between the second law and time reversal invariance depends on the formulation of the second law. He claims that a recent version of the second law due to Lieb and Yngvason (...) allows irreversible processes, yet is time reversal invariant. In this paper, I attempt to spell out the traditional argument for incompatibility between the second law and time reversal invariant dynamics, making the assumptions on which it depends explicit. I argue that this argument does not vary with different versions of the second law and can be formulated for Lieb and Yngvason's version as for other versions. Uffink's argument regarding time reversal invariance in Lieb and Yngvason is based on a certain symmetry of some of their axioms. However, these axioms do not constitute the full expression of the second law in their system. (shrink)
This article relates the emergence of a group of faculty researchers utilizing complexity science approaches. The narrative emerges from three projects combining research into complexity, communities, and technologies. Details of how the research was initiated, and the nature and quality of the conversational method, are provided. In addition, theoretical concepts that were consciously applied and others that arose through insights from the data as it was collected are discussed. Although this is like most real narratives, a never-ending story, it concludes (...) with a presentation of some of the ideas that separate complexity-informed research from other paradigms. (shrink)