Skip to main content

Questions tagged [probability]

The tag has no usage guidance.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

Deterministic or stochastic universe?

Just a little bit before my graduation from computer science, I attended a course about computational intelligence, and my professor then challenged us to debate on whether the world/universe follows ...
GGEv's user avatar
  • 159
2 votes
5 answers
655 views

How improbable does an event have to be before we can say it didn't happen by chance?

What is the probability threshold below which we can confidently say that a blind process did not create the supposed event? For example, how many heads in a row would we need to say that it did not ...
user avatar
5 votes
10 answers
791 views

How could Occam's razor possibly be used metaphysically?

Occam's razor, or the law of parsimony, states that the simplest explanation for any given data is most likely the correct one. Some have attempted to use Occam's razor in a metaphysical sense, to ...
Peter E's user avatar
  • 91
5 votes
13 answers
3k views

Can a coincidence be evidence of a god?

If I experience a coincidence or a coincidence happens in the world that seems to be at extremely low odds, does this imply that God exists? If it doesn’t imply that God exists, can it at least make ...
user avatar
13 votes
15 answers
5k views

The implication if we discovered that natural abiogenesis is statistically nearly impossible

If we were to discover somehow that (sentient) life was so unlikely that it were almost impossible that it forms even once in the whole universe, does that imply anything about creation e.g.? My logic ...
Doot's user avatar
  • 247
0 votes
8 answers
648 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
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 ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
480 views

How valid is assignment of probabilites when evidence is totally lacking, as in Pascal's Wager?

The SEP article discussing Pascal's Wager states, Premise 1 presupposes that you should have a probability for God’s existence in the first place. However, perhaps you could rationally fail to ...
Josh's user avatar
  • 355
3 votes
3 answers
398 views

Does logic give us a single definitive and universal answer for comparing the odds of unlikely events?

As an amateur who has interest in logic and mathematics I've been reading about the concept of different probability perceptions. I'd like to have your opinions over the subject below. When it comes ...
Geerts's user avatar
  • 31
32 votes
10 answers
11k views

Isn't the notion that everything will occur in an infinite timeline an example of the gambler's fallacy?

I've seen a few different formulations of this, but the most famous is "monkeys on a typewriter" - that if you put a team of monkeys on a typewriter, given infinite time, they will ...
Lou's user avatar
  • 431
16 votes
11 answers
6k views

Does every possible event have non-zero probability?

Almost every human being would agree that 2 + 2 != 5. In a sense, this is a logical impossibility. However, almost every human being would also agree that pigs can't fly. Some, however, are adamant in ...
user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
355 views

What justifies probability in the case of a onetime experiment?

If I have an "experiment", the results of which can be classified clearly into "outcomes" (like rolling a die), then I can make a concrete and verifiable empirical claim that "if you repeat this ...
Jack M's user avatar
  • 213
5 votes
1 answer
390 views

What is Quine's perspective on probability?

I am curious about what Quine's perspective on probability may be and if we can say that the quinean viewpoint on modality can be considered similar to his viewpoint on probability. Is probability ...
BGregerB's user avatar
3 votes
6 answers
598 views

Can there only be one success in an infinite amount of trials?

The premise is basically that there is an infinite amount of trials and a trial could either be a success or a failure. In this trial set, is it actually possible for there to be one and only one ...
Ikechukwu Anude's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
800 views

Almost Sure Mind Transfer via Parfit's Identity Theory (interesting thought experiment)

Under Derek Parfit's theory of identity, we should direct our concern to future selves not because they are identical to us, but because they bear some special relation to our current self. He used ...
user avatar
121 votes
22 answers
23k views

Why don't fair coin tosses add up? Is the gambler's fallacy really valid?

I have always been perplexed by a seeming paradox in probability that I'm sure has some simple, well-known explanation We say that a "fair coin" has "no memory." At each toss, the ...
Nelson Alexander's user avatar
20 votes
13 answers
10k 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
  • 303
14 votes
15 answers
8k 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 ...
user avatar
12 votes
12 answers
3k views

Does the "Sniper Firing Squad" analogy undermine the anthropic principle’s objection to the fine-tuning argument for God's existence?

The anthropic principle, also known as the "observation selection effect", is the hypothesis, first proposed in 1957 by Robert Dicke, that the range of possible observations that could be ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 6,037
12 votes
5 answers
3k views

Is the notion of "Complex System" a philosophy of science? Is it the opposite of Reductionism? Is it related to Holism?

I have tried to come to terms with the notion of "complex systems" of which I heard in one of the lessons at school though without too much depth. I grasp that a complex system is such that ...
Luna's user avatar
  • 769
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. ...
user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
933 views

Is there a term for the position "no determinism but no free will"?

Often when free will is discussed, there are three main positions espoused: Libertarian: The universe is not deterministic and there is free will Hard-determinism: The universe is deterministic and ...
Bridgeburners's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
294 views

Does the propensity interpretation of probability rely on the principle of indifference?

According to the late Popper, among others, probability is the propensity of a set of conditions to produce certain long run relative frequencies. Therefore if we say that a certain set of conditions ...
Sebastian's user avatar
  • 370
5 votes
5 answers
1k views

Probabilistic prediction (quantum mechanics) - what is the meaning of such a prediction and how do you falsify it?

Suppose there's a hypothetical quantum physics experiment. There are 2 possible outcomes to this experiment A or B. QM predicts that the probability of each is 50%. Firstly, what is the meaning of ...
Ameet Sharma's user avatar
  • 3,093
5 votes
4 answers
931 views

Does Bayesianism not discriminate against ad hoc hypotheses?

Bayesianism doesn't seem to discriminate against ad hoc hypotheses. A simple example illustrates this. Let's assume a person tosses a coin 20 straight times and it lands on heads. They, ad hoc, start ...
user avatar
4 votes
9 answers
2k views

What is unique about the quantum state of superposition?

In the state of quantum superposition, as most famously illustrated by Schrodinger's Cat, we have a well-defined set of probabilistic outcomes that is not determined until observed. The cat is then ...
Nelson Alexander's user avatar
4 votes
12 answers
6k views

How does probability constitute as knowledge in justified belief theory?

This is not the classic lottery paradox. Details of that are available at Epistemic Paradoxes (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Suppose there is one lottery with 100,000 tickets and one prize. I ...
Ludwig V's user avatar
  • 2,888
4 votes
7 answers
343 views

Is it possible to enumerate metaphysical hypotheses?

Recently, I had an argument with someone who stated that the chance of experiencing nothing after death is extremely low. Their reasoning was that one can think of many more metaphysical realities in ...
Peter E's user avatar
  • 91
4 votes
3 answers
241 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 ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
435 views

Question about the "catch-all" hypothesis as a response to the "bad lot" objection

In response to van Fraassen's "bad lot" objection, I have seen in multiple papers (and in the response of Lipton, from what I remember) refer to the idea of the use of a 'catch-all' hypothesis which ...
Joe Lee-Doktor's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
160 views

Why are physical and logical probabilities considered separate?

It is argued that there is a difference between these probabilities. When a dice lands on 6, it is argued that because it could have landed on 1-5 by the nature of physical laws, the probability is 1/...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
334 views

Is probabilistic modus tollens a fallacy?

Modus tollens takes the form of "If P, then Q. Not Q. Therefore, not P." A probabilistic version of Modus Tollens says "If P, then Q is very improbable. Q. Therefore, P is very ...
user avatar
3 votes
7 answers
256 views

How does one solve this paradox of independent probability?

There seems to be a paradox in my head when it comes to evaluating independent probabilities and it's sort of boggling my head. I am curious as to how to solve it. Suppose I tell my friend to think of ...
user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
420 views

Does everything have a infinitesimal amount of uncertainty?

Suppose a soldier has to fight unarmed against 200 opponents. Most people would say that the soldier is certainly dead. However, quantum mechanics dictates that there is always some degree of ...
Daikornof's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
885 views

Philosophical implications of central limit theorem (CLT)

Central limit theorem (CLT) establishes that, for the most commonly studied scenarios, when independent random variables are added, their sum tends toward a normal distribution (commonly known as ...
ngub05's user avatar
  • 189
2 votes
4 answers
359 views

Does even fixed probability imply no free will?

If we have 1000000 identical ppl and we tell them to choose left or right, roughly 50% will choose each direction. Same thing if repeated million times. Then are they really free? The only definition ...
Razor's user avatar
  • 254
1 vote
3 answers
108 views

Do previous trials of a chance driven process affect whether or not the current trial was intentional?

Suppose 500,000 lotteries were played before yesterday. Yesterday, Jane played the lottery and won. Today, she played the lottery and won again. Person A, let's call him the conspiracy theorist, might ...
user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
121 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
  • 7,192
1 vote
0 answers
98 views

Bayesian argument for combining extraordinary claims

This is an improved version of Backwards Bayesian argument for alien visitation? It is said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and therefore this criterion is applied to every ...
John Eastmond's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
129 views

Bayes and unknown probabilites: is this reasoning from the failure of explanation a fallacy?

Bayesian probability is an interpretation of the concept of probability, in which, instead of frequency or propensity of some phenomenon, probability is interpreted as reasonable expectation ...
user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
150 views

Do probability and statistics apply to the decisions of an agent with libertarian free will?

Do probability and statistics apply to libertarian free agents? Can a libertarian free agent have a statistical tendency towards certain decisions? Would it make sense to say, for example, that there ...
user avatar
0 votes
5 answers
214 views

Why aren’t mundane events seen as evidence of a God? [closed]

No one thinks that them waking up at 9 am is evidence of God. No one thinks that a stone on the ground is evidence of God. No one thinks that going on a date with someone is evidence of God. No one ...
user avatar