Questions tagged [probability]

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When can you apply the principle of indifference?

If someone wanted to assign the probability of a dice landing on 1, there seems to be ample reason to give it a probability of 1/6. However, imagine a scenario where we randomly pick a human being, ...
Baby_philosopher's user avatar
6 votes
10 answers
4k views

What is a philosophical interpretation of Bayes’s theorem when one of the probabilities is zero?

Bayes' Theorem P(H) = probability of a hypothesis P(E) = probability of evidence P(E|H) = probability of evidence given the hypothesis P(H|E) = probability of hypothesis given the evidence P(H|E) = P(...
Agent Smith's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
148 views

Do arguments arising from probability convincingly argue a mass human extinction event in the near future? [closed]

One such argument is the Doomsday argument which is taken seriously by a number of academics. But more simply, if we look at the modern population trajectory, it's something of an exponential curve. ...
yters's user avatar
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3 votes
8 answers
3k views

Is this a statistical argument for reincarnation being almost inevitable?

In a scenario in which we have conscious souls (ignoring all the arguments against that for now), would the following be a statistical argument for reincarnation? Supposing we are in something like an ...
Cat Rat Pup's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
118 views

How can we even know which philosophical interpretation of probability is correct?

There are quite a few philosophical interpretations of probability. But how can we know which one, if any, is the correct interpretation? How do we decide that? What method would we use to even decide ...
user107952's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
161 views

Why would modal realist Lewis believe that the answer to the Sleeping Beauty problem is 1/2?

Why is Lewis, of all people, the champion of the halfer position, when modal realism seems to imply the thirder position? The main argument he seems to make for the halfer position is that, although ...
Juan's user avatar
  • 319
1 vote
1 answer
39 views

What is a "sphere model"?

I'm reading the SEP entry on multi-modal logic and there's this passage: Is this related to what the SEP entry on infinity says about probability, here?: Kolmogorov notes that if the original ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
83 views

Is Arithmetic more Extensional than Probability?

One of the views of probability is that it should be viewed as a multi-valued logic where p(A) represents the probability that a proposition A is true. In a discussion of this, I once read that ...
David Gudeman's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
274 views

Is probability a concept derived from the wavefunction? Since the p.d.f. is found by finding the modulus of the wave function in Q.M

I am studying the different probability interpretations (frequentist, bayesian etcetera) but for me it keeps bugging that since the probability density function in quantum mechanics is found by ...
bananenheld's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
40 views

Is a probability operator on propositions symmetrical?

What I mean is: does, "It is not probable that..." = "It is probable that not..."? For example, does, "It is 50% probable that..." = "It is probable that 50%..."...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
1 vote
5 answers
2k views

Does the law of large numbers explain why quantum mechanics leads to statistical regularities?

When the question of why chancy effects in quantum mechanics lead to statistical regularities is proposed, it is often answered using the law of large numbers. When you have particles that can be ...
thinkingman's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
96 views

Is not knowing whether X is true inconsistent with assigning a probability to it?

I have read that it is wise to assign a non zero probability to beliefs, and not 0 or 1. This is because probability represents certainty and you cannot be certain of anything. xxxxxx However, if you ...
thinkingman's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
66 views

Are there phenomena which are partially spontaneous and partially causal?

Events can be spontaneous or non spontaneous. Spontaneous is defined as occurring without apparent external cause. Non spontaneous events are causal, that is, there is cause and effect. Suppose an ...
Dheeraj Verma's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
88 views

Can fatalism be disproved by fate-changing magic?

In a world where magic exists, fate-spinners are people with supernatural powers that influence the chances of events happening. Their power has been proven by countless experiments where they compare ...
Zachiel's user avatar
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2 answers
147 views

How can one evaluate the plausibility of an eternal object?

Suppose I told you one of two things. A) A Boeing 747 arose by chance in a scrapyard within a 24 hour period after a tornado flew through it. B) A Boeing 747 always existed. Suppose I then told you ...
thinkingman's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
591 views

How to understand the notion of majority when comparing infinite sets?

Suppose I make the argument: It is very unlikely that in a naturalistic universe, the constants have life sustaining values, since the majority of metaphysically possible universes do not have such ...
Mani's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
305 views

The Likelyhood Principle and Baysean Statistics

I am reading Kotzen's paper Selection Bias in Likelihood Arguments. The author takes the following principle as a starting point: I'm confused as to how to formalize this notion in terms of Bayesian ...
Mani's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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Probabilities and Certainties on the Monkey Axis: Yet more about those monkey typists

I was reading with some interest the answers and comments to this question about that familiar, weird and somewhat inhumane infinite-monkey experiment which, somehow, is still generating fresh and ...
Brandon Burt's user avatar
18 votes
13 answers
9k views

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

Apologies if this is a very basic/obvious question. I have no training in philosophy, but have been making my way through Peter Adamson's History of Philosophy podcast. Recently I listened to his ...
Uzai's user avatar
  • 283
1 vote
1 answer
85 views

Is there a term for the fact that it may need more information to describe a probability distribution than conveyed by the event itself?

For example, X is a random integer from 1 to 16. Now I get a piece of information: X is 3, 5, 9, or 14. This has 2 bits of information for the knowledge about X. But if the list of options is random ...
user23013's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Would the kind of probability involved in strong/hard free will be non-unitary?

By "unitarity" I mean that the sums of the probabilities in the given cases would be 1. Non-unitarity would, I assume (for now!), allow for final negative probabilities as well as imaginary-/...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
198 views

Subjectivity vs. Objectivity, A Mathematical Analysis

To my knowledge, objectivity is more the merrier and subjectivity a loner. That is to say, the probability of something being objective is thought to increase with the number of observers. The whole ...
Agent Smith's user avatar
  • 3,474
4 votes
4 answers
297 views

Does the halfer position in the Sleeping Beauty problem make for an irrational gambler?

It's my understanding that the Sleeping Beauty problem doesn't have a consensus answer, with major camps along the lines of "halfers," "thirders," and "the-question-statement-...
Feryll's user avatar
  • 153
1 vote
1 answer
95 views

Are our intuitions about probability not wrong after all?

Many people feel as if significant events are less probable. For example, some may feel as if the sequence of all heads on a coin is less probable than any other sequence. Or that the next lottery ...
thinkingman's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
388 views

Implicit Models and Probability - are degrees of belief/truth/existence a complete free-for-all?

Or, to put it another way, as long as you model your statements using the grammatical framework of our modern logical idioms, is it appropriate practice to assign a probability to any utterance at all,...
Paul Ross's user avatar
  • 5,401
-2 votes
2 answers
105 views

If different realities can’t have probabilities, does this mean no reality is more reasonable to believe than another?

This question is ultimately a follow up to this one For the context of the question, assume that a metaphysical reality is a reality that can be conceived without contradiction and that these ...
thinkingman's user avatar
5 votes
11 answers
4k views

Does Bayesianism give an out for pseudoscience that it shouldn’t deserve?

In Bayesianism, every belief in a hypothesis is updated in the same way. You have a prior probability P (H). You have the probability of an observation under a hypothesis P (E|H). And then you update ...
thinkingman's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
34 views

Does probabilistic justification exist?

Is there such a thing as how likely it is for a hypothesis to be true given evidence as a matter of fact? It is certainly true that we might feel strongly about other minds existing based on what we ...
thinkingman's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
140 views

Does significance testing contain a logical flaw or not?

This question was sparked from a comment Conifold had made. Link to comment here: Is probabilistic modus tollens a fallacy? He says, and I quote, “The valid form used in significance testing is: If P ...
thinkingman's user avatar
3 votes
12 answers
3k views

Can we fully expunge the notion of probability from philosophy?

Can one reason about things without involving this concept altogether? Although the answer to this is trivially yes since the theory came about only 400 years ago, my question is moreso whether one ...
thinkingman's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
172 views

How does one compare the probability of an outcome vs. an event?

Suppose Adam guesses a number between 1 and 10 from a random number generator. Suppose Bethany guesses a number between 1 and 100 from a random generator. The probability of Adam guessing the correct ...
thinkingman's user avatar
2 votes
6 answers
171 views

What is the probability of events that don’t seem clearly defined?

It makes sense to talk about the probability of a series of coin tosses but what about seeing a TV on a wall, or seeing a person riding a bicycle on the street? If one were to compare an event such as ...
thinkingman's user avatar
14 votes
15 answers
7k views

Isn’t everything absurdly improbable?

Isn’t every event by definition improbable in the sense that each event precedes an infinite series of causes that could have (theoretically atleast) been different? We think of someone winning five ...
thinkingman's user avatar
2 votes
5 answers
148 views

How should we evaluate improbable outcomes in a probabilistic system?

Suppose I observe a highly improbable outcome while playing roulette - for example, 50 black results in a row, with a probability of 1/2^50. A mathematician would likely say the probability remains 1/...
user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
102 views

My scales has been accurate for the past year. I weigh something today. Should I assume that the measurement is accurate? If so, why?

My scales has been accurate for the past year. I weigh something today using my scales and it says that it weighs 1kg. Should I assume that the measurement is accurate? If so, why? Here is the ...
A-Level Student's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
7k views

Is the SETI project built on false premises?

The SETI project analyzes signals and looks for patterns, some of which include prime number sequences that have an absurdly low improbability of occurring. It does this to detect intelligent life. ...
thinkingman's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
213 views

Can the universe be fully deterministic on a macro scale but not on a micro scale?

Suppose you have a dice. The “probability” of a dice landing on 1 is defined to be 1/6. However, many say that this is a function of ignorance. If we knew everything about the initial conditions, we ...
thinkingman's user avatar
7 votes
7 answers
3k views

Should X, if there’s no evidence for X, be given a non zero probability?

There may be no evidence that a fairy is sitting on a table. Many argue that one cannot prove a fairy doesn’t exist. Thus, many decide to attach an (infinitesimal) probability to it existing, as many ...
thinkingman's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
120 views

Doesn't fallibilism complexify Pascal's wager further?

We can never know whether we have accumulated all the knowledge in the world or not. This is a general statement. For example, a powerful counterargument against the contingency argument might exist ...
tryingtobeastoic's user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
278 views

Conceptual difference between probability vs percentages

Suppose there is a medical study which finds that having some Z gene is relate to a disease Y by a by 50%. Now, would it be correct to interpret this is as a probabilistic result? That is, there is a ...
tryst with freedom's user avatar
4 votes
5 answers
780 views

How should one treat probability in taking a decision?

Suppose, I have a machine that accurately gives me the probability of any event occuring. It's obvious what to do when The probabilities are 0.5 and 0.5 (Do nothing) The probabilities are 0 and 1 (...
tryingtobeastoic's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
42 views

Is a dissimilar event less likely to happen?

Suppose an event occurs in the world that you deem to be dissimilar enough to all other events that have ever happened in the world to consider it unique. Does this imply it is less likely to happen ...
thinkingman's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
68 views

Does the cloning of worlds, like in Many Worlds interpretation, really give the standard interpretation of probabilities?

Copenhagen- Suppose I ask you to bet on the outcome of 100 spin measurements. And you believe in the Copenhagen interpretation for now. The odds given by the Born rule, for each experiment, are 50:50 ...
Ryder Rude's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
321 views

Does this Sleeping Beauty problem show conflicting priors?

Let's say that there are three beauties; Michael, Jane, and Jill. They are put to sleep and assigned a random number from {1, 2, 3}. If the coin lands heads then 1 is woken on Monday. If the coin ...
Michael's user avatar
  • 255
0 votes
5 answers
83 views

How do we compare the “remarkableness” of complex events? [closed]

How do we compare the remarkableness of events? In many cases, we use probability as a tool. For example, predicting a number between 1 and 10 from a random number generator is way less impressive ...
thinkingman's user avatar
2 votes
5 answers
3k views

How can one make sense of the gambler’s fallacy if probability is ill defined?

The gambler’s fallacy suggests that in the cases of independent events such as coin tosses, the next coin toss’s probability does not depend upon previous ones. …but there are different definitions ...
thinkingman's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
101 views

How does Hume get rid of the problem of induction “probabilistically”?

Just because the sun rises every day, doesn’t mean it will rise tomorrow. Hume points out that the former doesn’t imply the latter. But he also argues that it doesn’t even imply that it is probable ...
thinkingman's user avatar
0 votes
8 answers
612 views

Is an omniscient entity self-refuting?

Consider a thought experiment involving 'something' and three individuals attempting to understand it: one person claims it is a red ball, another asserts it is a simulation, and the third insists it ...
Siddharth Chakravarty's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
67 views

Is there a set of fallacies attributable to statistics and probability

The interpretation and use of statistics and probability appears to contain a variety of fallacies that allow the misuse of these tools. Has anyone come across a list of fallacies specific to these ...
user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
889 views

Is it ever rational to stumble onto the conjunction fallacy in probability?

The conjunction fallacy is the phenomenon where many people believe that the probability of the event (A AND B) is strictly greater than the probability of the event A. It is usually thought of as an ...
user107952's user avatar
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