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The Structure of Epistemic Probabilities

Climenhaga, Nevin (2019) The Structure of Epistemic Probabilities. Philosophical Studies. pp. 1-30. ISSN 0031-8116

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Abstract

The epistemic probability of A given B is the degree to which B evidentially supports A, or makes A plausible. This paper is a first step in answering the question of what determines the values of epistemic probabilities. I break this question into two parts: the structural question and the substantive question. Just as an object’s weight is determined by its mass and gravitational acceleration, some probabilities are determined by other, more basic ones. The structural question asks what probabilities are not determined in this way—these are the basic probabilities which determine values for all other probabilities. The substantive question asks how the values of these basic probabilities are determined. I defend an answer to the structural question on which basic probabilities are the probabilities of atomic propositions conditional on potential direct explanations. I defend this against the view, implicit in orthodox mathematical treatments of probability, that basic probabilities are the unconditional probabilities of complete worlds. I then apply my answer to the structural question to clear up common confusions in expositions of Bayesianism and shed light on the “problem of the priors.”


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Climenhaga, Nevinnevin.climenhaga@acu.edu.au0000-0002-7376-8788
Keywords: Bayesian epistemology Bayesian networks Explanation Probability Inference to the best explanation
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Epistemology
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Computer Simulation
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Formal Learning Theory
Specific Sciences > Artificial Intelligence > Machine Learning
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Nevin Climenhaga
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2020 06:29
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2020 06:29
Item ID: 16870
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophical Studies
Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11098-0...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-019-01367-0
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Epistemology
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Computer Simulation
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Formal Learning Theory
Specific Sciences > Artificial Intelligence > Machine Learning
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2019
Page Range: pp. 1-30
ISSN: 0031-8116
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16870

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