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Underdetermination of infinitesimal probabilities

Pruss, Alexander R. (2018) Underdetermination of infinitesimal probabilities. [Preprint]

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Abstract

A number of philosophers have attempted to solve the problem of null-probability possible events in
Bayesian epistemology by proposing that there are infinitesimal probabilities.
Hajek (2003) (more tentatively) and Easwaran (2014) (more definitively) have argued that because there is no way to specify a particular hyperreal extension
of the real numbers, solutions to the regularity problem involving infinitesimals, or at least hyperreal infinitesimals, involve an
unsatisfactory ineffability or arbitrariness.
The arguments depend on the alleged impossibility of picking out a particular hyperreal extension of the real numbers and/or of a particular value
within such an extension due to the
use of the Axiom of Choice. However, it is false that the Axiom of Choice precludes a specification of
a hyperreal extension---such an extension can indeed be specified. Moreover, for all we know, it is possible to explicitly specify particular
infinitesimals within such an extension. Nonetheless, I prove that because any regular probability measure that has infinitesimal values
can be replaced by one that has all the same intuitive features but other infinitesimal values, the heart of the arbitrariness objection
remains.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Pruss, Alexander R.alexander_pruss@baylor.edu
Keywords: infinitesimals,probability,Axiom of Choice
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Depositing User: Dr Alexander Pruss
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2018 20:48
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2018 20:48
Item ID: 15449
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-018-02064-x
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Date: 2018
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15449

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