Questions tagged [probability]

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5answers
280 views

Is getting 100 Heads in a row from a fair coin a miracle or not?

Suppose a man continues to toss a coin until he gets 100 heads in a row. Suppose the outcomes of all tosses from the 9999901th toss to the 10 millionth toss are all heads and 100 heads in a row didn't ...
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5answers
370 views

Are more parsimonious theories harder to falsify?

Occam's razor states that, everything else being equal, the theory with the least number of assumptions is more likely to be true. This has been formalized as Solomonoff's theory of inductive ...
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5answers
225 views

Are there probability distributions that are analytically derived?

Consider the simplest example, flipping a coin. Is the relationship between the symmetry of the coin and the 50-50 probability synthetic or analytic?
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83 views

Is this a valid argument (using probability and uncertainties)?

If A, then B (probability of 0.6 that this is true) If B, then C (probability of 0.6 that this is true) A, Therefore C. I'm not sure whether C is probably true if A is true, or if the probability ...
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0answers
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At what degree of certainty are we incredulous? [closed]

At what degree of certainty are we incredulous? I'm asking because I'm not incredulous about something I recognize I cannot prove, and want to put a degree of certainty on it.
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2answers
258 views

How do we account under natural law for humans' ability to produce arbitrarily-improbable results?

I'm testing the assertion that human beings (leaving out other life forms for simplicity) can and do cause effects, that is, changes in the physical world, which a) have arbitrarily-low probability ...
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2answers
260 views

What defines “lack of evidence” and is it irrational to believe in something without evidence?

It is commonly accepted that the lack of evidence for a particular proposition makes belief in said proposition irrational. However, imagine the following proposition, P: An object exists for ...
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12answers
21k views

Have I found a paradox, or is the universe digital? Or am I just plain wrong? [closed]

If the universe is analog, there must exist an infinite number of positions. This raises an interesting question. Let me boil it down to something familiar: a table and an ashtray. I'll let the ...
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5answers
224 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 ...
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0answers
140 views

How do you have to rate the probability of an existential claim?

If the prior probability of every universal hypothesis is zero how would you have to rate the probability of the statement that unicorns (at least one) exist? Probability of an event = number of ...
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3answers
652 views

Does Probability come before Scientific Method?

I am interested in the following epistemological problem. Usually, Probability is seen as a mathematical theory that we use to describe the physical world. Precisely, following the Scientific Method ...
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1answer
115 views

Is 'interpretation' in quantum mechanics the same as 'interpretation' in probability? [closed]

I heard all 'interpretations' of quantum mechanics give exactly the same answer to every measurement so they are all equally correct. Is that the same 'interpretations' as in probability? Context: ...
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5answers
381 views

How do you prove probability? [closed]

I have this thought that has bugged me for a couple of days and could not find any answers on the internet. I thought this would be the best place to consult. How does one go about proving ...
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2answers
294 views

What is the name of this logical fallacy involving probabilities of two unrelated events?

I've often heard that you have better chances of winning the lottery than you do where X is some unhappy event. Occasionally, I hear people who have actually experienced X say they should buy a ...
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2answers
350 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 ...
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0answers
58 views

Time dynamics of probability (from a game theoretic point of view)

Many commenters on this question about a property of a random 2x2 matrix seem to assume that there is no such thing as a random 2x2 matrix. We are talking here about a matrix with integer or rational ...
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0answers
60 views

Is it a fallacy to argue that if something is much much more likely to occur then it is in fact the case?

Is it OK to argue that what is hugely more likely to occur is in fact the case? There seems to be a class of paradox that relies on the idea that what we think is the case is in fact much much less ...
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4answers
130 views

Emergent Complexity In Probability Distributions

I originally posted this in Physics SE but was told it's more appropriate here... In quantum mechanics we describe waves of probability or probability distributions. Does this have to or should it be ...
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1answer
93 views

Possibility of an event leads to a finite probability of the event occurring [closed]

If there is evidence of the possibility that an event will occur, is there a finite probability that the event will occur?
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2answers
530 views

Is it possible to know anything?

I am very sure this apple in front of me exists. I could be hallucinating however, so lets say: I am 98% certain the apple exists. I am confident that (1) is a fair assessment, but I can't really be ...
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3answers
928 views

Is there a middle ground between determinism and libertarianism?

Is it possible that we live in a universe where some things are truly deterministic and other truly random and the difference between those two things is how their particles are arranged? For example,...
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2answers
236 views

Do premises in modus tollendo tollens arguments require greater certainty than others?

In a standard syllogism, the two premises of the argument are independent of each other, so all extrinsic warrant being equal, the argument will prove the conclusion to be probable if and only if... ...
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1answer
76 views

Is there a name for the following gambling fallacy?

I'm writing a paper on the game of blackjack and I'm trying to make a point about how a common player's attitude is a logical/statistical fallacy in the following situation: When any common person ...
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1answer
158 views

Probability and logic

Is probability theory (using Kolmogorov's axioms) an extension of the propositional calculus, or an extension of first order logic?
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2answers
126 views

Why is probability used to make decisions?

If I am offered two bets to choose one from, and either wins $100 or losses $100, I would want to know the chances of winning in order to decide which one to pick. For example, if one bet has a 90% ...
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2answers
565 views

Hilbert's Sixth Problem: Is Kolmogorov's solution the last word?

The demand for axiomatization of probability was put forward by Hilbert at the very beginning of the past century: it was the sixth problem in his famous twenty three problems he deemed of high ...
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2answers
171 views

How does Bernoulli's theorem make an inference from chance to frequencies and not vice versa?

I am currently working on an assignment of mine about Frequentism and Bayesianism. In my studies I've found this source: http://statweb.stanford.edu/~cgates/PERSI/Courses/Phil166-266//IV-Frequency2013....
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8answers
604 views

Why do people perceive the randomness of events so poorly?

People who are not trained in statistics and randomness (and even sometimes those who are) tend to draw horrible conclusions about whether an event is random or caused. Fundamentally my question is - ...
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4answers
143 views

How does it make sense to infer the existence of a group from a sequence of events?

Just read an interesting section in The Drunkard's Walk - L. Mlodinow and this section made me think: [people]... confuse[ing] the probability that a series of events would happen if it were the ...
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7answers
2k views

Is a “fair coin toss” a logical contradiction?

A previous question asked about the reality of the gambler's fallacy, in which logic appears to offend common sense. In light of the answers, I am now wondering about the other side of the coin, so to ...
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21answers
19k views

Why don't fair coin tosses “add up”? Or… is “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" or whatever has "no memory." At each toss the odds ...
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1answer
94 views

Wondering about Probabilities [closed]

I'm wondering the existence of probabilities in general, either in maths ou other. ①➡ I have three balls(1, 2 and 3) inside a bag, and I close the bag. I mix the balls and I take one out. How do I ...
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3answers
80 views

Probability question [duplicate]

For weather forecasts on TV, many claims are made about the probability of single events like there is a “40% chance of thunderstorms tomorrow.” Can claims like this make sense given the definition of ...
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2answers
195 views

Bayesian statistics versus inductive skepticism

This is a question replicated here as advised by the statisticians' StackExchanged - see also https://stats.stackexchange.com/questions/178857/bayesians-positions-on-inductive-skepticism Philosopher ...
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4answers
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Is it ethical to earn money by convincing young men to enlist in the army during wartime? [closed]

Firstly, is it ethical to convince young men (and women) to risk death and injury by enlisting in the army and going to war? Secondly, if the person running such an enlistment campaign has absolutely ...
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5answers
5k views

What is the difference between a probability and a possibility?

I ask this in a fairly naive way. I understand that "probabilities" can be quantified in frequencies, degrees of belief, etc. with some defined "space" of probability.But I know little about modal ...
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3answers
322 views

When is it not possible to assign a probability?

I know only a little about set theory and probability, and struggle to infer their implications for many traditional metaphysical concepts and questions. I was surprised to read the statement, "......
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3answers
173 views

Thinking that all individuals pursue “selfish” interest is equivalent to assuming that all random variables have zero covariance

I read that: Thinking that all individuals pursue "selfish" interest is equivalent to assuming that all random variables have zero covariance. -- Nero What does that mean, and what does it have to do ...
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1answer
87 views

Is this an instance of the base-rate fallacy?

Pr(Sx ∣ x∈𝓗) ≫ 0 Pr(Sx ∣ Tx & x∈𝓗) ≫ 0 Pr(Sx ∣ ¬Tx & x∈𝓗) ≪ 1 Therefore: Pr(Tx ∣ Sx & x∈𝓗) ≫ 0 Is this an instance of the base-rate fallacy, or is this line of reasoning valid? It ...
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1answer
142 views

Is it justified to assess the probability of a claim if the claim is unverifiable or do we have to say the probability is inconclusive?

Suppose there is a claim that outside the observable universe (assuming that there is an outside, other than that we don't know anything about outside) there exists a substance A. Can we conclude that ...
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3answers
251 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 ...
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Does anyone know of any essays on Adam's Thesis and Deontic Conditionals?

I'm curious if anyone knows of any essays which concerns how deontic conditionals fit with Adam's Thesis. (Adam's Thesis is the idea that the probability of an indicative conditional A > C is equal ...
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3answers
207 views

What does it mean to “conditionalize a probability distrubition”?

What does it mean to "conditionalize a probability distrubition"? In case relevant, I've been reading about "Adam's Thesis", and that's where this phrase has been thrown about.
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1answer
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Jorge Luis Borges suggests that using a lottery is an “intensification of chance.” Does this make sense?

By intensification of chance, Borges adds that a lottery brings "a periodic infusion of chaos into the cosmos." To me, the idea that chance can be "intensified" seems strange. However, I'm also not ...
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0answers
44 views

How much can investigating three nested systems help interpreting probabilistic theories?

Many attempts to interpret quantum mechanics do so by looking at three nested systems. The largest system is essentially the universe or the environment. The smallest system is the one being observed ...
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6answers
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Why are homologies evidence for evolution instead of common design?

I have seen some creationists arguing that when evolutionary biologists use homologies (anatomical or genetic) as evidence for evolution, they are committing the fallacy of affirming the consequent. ...
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1answer
230 views

Is philosophical (total) skepticism compatible with the modern scientific world view?

I've been interested in philosophical skepticism lately as I've just recently learned about the close relationship between certain schools of ancient skepticism and fallibilism, which I'm told is the ...
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1answer
98 views

Plagiarism problem

I have two exactly similar essays from my students. By the rules they should fail the class. But they claim that it's just coincidence. Taking into consideration the fact, that there is nonzero ...
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1answer
254 views

Can encrypted information be sent back in time while avoiding the Unproven Theorem Paradox?

Background: The Unproven Paradox involves sending a mathematical proof to individuals in the past that is obtained from the fact that there is a recipient in the past that publicly reveals the proof. ...
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1answer
562 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 ...