# Questions tagged [probability]

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1 answer
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### Is the criterium of admissibility a valid requirement for probability interpretations?

One argument that is often raised against hypothetical frequentism, as e.g. developed by Reichenbach or Von Mises is that limiting relative frequencies can violate the axiom of countable additivity (...
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### A paradox: Being ethical in a chaotic world

I want to be an ethical person, in the sense that I want to do what's best for the humanity. There might be ethical laws that if everybody stick to, the world would be a better place. But I'm a very ...
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3 answers
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### Is it a problem for Frequentism that infinite sequences do not exist?

Hypothetical frequentists defined probability as limiting long run frequencies of hypothetical random infinite sequences, such as an infinite sequence of coin tosses. One argument against this ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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### 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 ...
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1 answer
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### Frequentist notion of probability

The or rather one of the Frequentist interpretations of probability claims that the statement "The next coin toss )that is executed under conditions X) has a probability of 90% to land heads" simply ...
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### In a Many Worlds scenario, where everything is possible, what is the point of choice?

If the Many Worlds theory (an infinite number of alternate realities where any and all possibilities are realized) is real, and we were able to travel to alternate realities where we could see how ...
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3 votes
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### Is the "measurement problem" really about Quantum Mechanics?

Philosophers (Popper in particular) have long debated the interpretation of probability as applied to the world. Their concerns echo those of physics (frequency, preparation, ensembles, ). It would ...
1 vote
3 answers
158 views

### Being transcendental and contingency of constants of nature

Given an arbitrarily chosen constant of nature (say, the speed of light c), we can confidently say that the fact that it is equal to 299 792 458 meters per second is a contingent fact about our ...
1 vote
2 answers
61 views

### Updating Credences in the case of prolonged lack of evidence that confirms the belief

Let's assume that there is a proposition P, and we have started updating our credence about it at time t0 until some time t100. Our final credence for P ended up being .7 (at t100) . But let's say ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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### Probabilistic(random) within a bound deterministic region?

I had a discussion with a professor, who came with this thought: When you randomly sample from a Normal distribution of fixed mean and variance, how can you claim that the sample is random when ...
1 vote
3 answers
590 views

### Is it certain that aliens exist in an infinite universe?

Suppose we have an urn that contains infinitely many balls with different colours. Black balls are very common, and white ones uncommon. We do not know exactly how uncommon white balls are. However, ...
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### 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 ...
3 votes
11 answers
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### 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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### 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 ...
3 votes
5 answers
332 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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### 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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-1 votes
2 answers
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### 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 ...
3 votes
4 answers
859 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 ...
18 votes
11 answers
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### 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 ...
3 votes
6 answers
564 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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
175 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 ...
3 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
146 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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5 answers
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### 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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2 answers
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### 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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2 answers
818 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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### 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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### 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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3 votes
4 answers
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### 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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### 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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3 answers
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### 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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2 votes
3 answers
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### 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,...
1 vote
2 answers
306 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... ...
3 votes
1 answer
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### 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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### 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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### 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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2 answers
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### 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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2 answers
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### 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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9 votes
8 answers
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### 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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2 votes
4 answers
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### 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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12 answers
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### 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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118 votes
22 answers
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### 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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2 votes
1 answer
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### 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 ...
1 vote
3 answers
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### 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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### 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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### 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 ...
6 votes
5 answers
7k 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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### 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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2 votes
3 answers
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### 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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### 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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