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The Snow White problem

Wenmackers, Sylvia (2017) The Snow White problem. Synthese. ISSN 0039-7857

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The SnowWhite problem is introduced to demonstrate how learning something of which one could not have learnt the opposite (due to observer selection bias) can change an agent’s probability assignment. This helps us to analyse the Sleeping Beauty problem, which is deconstructed as a combinatorial engine and a subjective wrapper. The combinatorial engine of the problem is analogous to Bertrand’s boxes paradox and can be solved with standard probability theory. The subjective wrapper is clarified using the Snow White problem. Sample spaces for all three problems are presented. The conclusion is that subjectivity plays no irreducible role in solving the Sleeping Beauty problem and that no reference to centered worlds is required to provide the answer.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Keywords: probability, de se beliefs, observer selection effects, Bayesianism, Sleeping Beauty problem
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Depositing User: Prof. dr. Sylvia Wenmackers
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2017 18:19
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2017 18:19
Item ID: 14175
Journal or Publication Title: Synthese
Publisher: Springer
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle:
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Date: 4 December 2017
ISSN: 0039-7857

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