
162Models and Reality—A Review of Brian Skyrms’s Evolution of the Social ContractPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (1): 237. 1999.Human beings are peculiar. In laboratory experiments, they often cooperate in oneshot prisoners’ dilemmas, they frequently offer 1/2 and reject low offers in the ultimatum game, and they often bid 1/2 in the game of dividethecake All these behaviors are puzzling from the point of view of game theory. The first two are irrational, if utility is measured in a certain way.1 The last isn’t positively irrational, but it is no more rational than other possible actions, since there are infinitely ma…Read more

260Four Approaches to SuppositionErgo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.Suppositions can be introduced in either the indicative or subjunctive mood. The introduction of either type of supposition initiates judgments that may be either qualitative, binary judgments about whether a given proposition is acceptable or quantitative, numerical ones about how acceptable it is. As such, accounts of qualitative/quantitative judgment under indicative/subjunctive supposition have been developed in the literature. We explore these four different types of theories by systematica…Read more

113Two Approaches to Belief RevisionErkenntnis 84 (3): 487518. 2019.In this paper, we compare and contrast two methods for the revision of qualitative beliefs. The first method is generated by a simplistic diachronic Lockean thesis requiring coherence with the agent’s posterior credences after conditionalization. The second method is the orthodox AGM approach to belief revision. Our primary aim is to determine when the two methods may disagree in their recommendations and when they must agree. We establish a number of novel results about their relative behavior.…Read more

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IntroductionIn Cherie Braden, Rodrigo Borges & Branden Fitelson (eds.), Themes From Klein, Springer Verlag. 2019.

241How Not to Detect DesignThe Design Inference. William A. DembskiPhilosophy of Science 66 (3): 472488. 1999.As every philosopher knows, “the design argument” concludes that God exists from premisses that cite the adaptive complexity of organisms or the lawfulness and orderliness of the whole universe. Since 1859, it has formed the intellectual heart of creationist opposition to the Darwinian hypothesis that organisms evolved their adaptive features by the mindless process of natural selection. Although the design argument developed as a defense of theism, the logic of the argument in fact encompasses …Read more

71Probability, confirmation, and the conjunction fallacyThinking and Reasoning 14 (2): 182199. 2008.The conjunction fallacy has been a key topic in debates on the rationality of human reasoning and its limitations. Despite extensive inquiry, however, the attempt of providing a satisfactory account of the phenomenon has proven challenging. Here, we elaborate the suggestion (first discussed by Sides et al., 2001) that in standard conjunction problems the fallacious probability judgments experimentally observed are typically guided by sound assessments of confirmation relations, meant in terms of…Read more

225Logical Foundations of Evidential SupportPhilosophy of Science 73 (5): 500512. 2006.Carnap's inductive logic (or confirmation) project is revisited from an "increase in firmness" (or probabilistic relevance) point of view. It is argued that Carnap's main desiderata can be satisfied in this setting, without the need for a theory of "logical probability." The emphasis here will be on explaining how Carnap's epistemological desiderata for inductive logic will need to be modified in this new setting. The key move is to abandon Carnap's goal of bridging confirmation and credence, in…Read more

38The philosophical significance of Stein’s paradoxEuropean Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (3): 411433. 2017.Charles Stein discovered a paradox in 1955 that many statisticians think is of fundamental importance. Here we explore its philosophical implications. We outline the nature of Stein’s result and of subsequent work on shrinkage estimators; then we describe how these results are related to Bayesianism and to model selection criteria like AIC. We also discuss their bearing on scientific realism and instrumentalism. We argue that results concerning shrinkage estimators underwrite a surprising form o…Read more

615Evidence of evidence is not (necessarily) evidenceAnalysis 72 (1): 8588. 2012.In this note, I consider various precisifications of the slogan ‘evidence of evidence is evidence’. I provide counterexamples to each of these precisifications (assuming an epistemic probabilistic relevance notion of ‘evidential support’)

110Studies in Bayesian Confirmation TheoryDissertation, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 2001.According to Bayesian confirmation theory, evidence E (incrementally) confirms (or supports) a hypothesis H (roughly) just in case E and H are positively probabilistically correlated (under an appropriate probability function Pr). There are many logically equivalent ways of saying that E and H are correlated under Pr. Surprisingly, this leads to a plethora of nonequivalent quantitative measures of the degree to which E confirms H (under Pr). In fact, many nonequivalent Bayesian measures of the…Read more

90A bayesian account of independent evidence with applicationsProceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3). 2001.outlined. This account is partly inspired by the work of C.S. Peirce. When we want to consider how degree of confirmation varies with changing I show that a large class of quantitative Bayesian measures of con.

58A New GarberStyle Solution to the Problem of Old EvidencePhilosophy of Science 82 (4): 712717. 2015.In this discussion note, we explain how to relax some of the standard assumptions made in Garberstyle solutions to the Problem of Old Evidence. The result is a more general and explanatory Bayesian approach

40• What’s essential to Newcomb’s problem? 1. You must choose between two particular acts: A1 = you take just the opaque box; A2 = you take both boxes, where the two states of nature are: S 1 = there’s $1M in the opaque box, S2 = there’s $0 in the opaque box.

100Putting the irrelevance back into the problem of irrelevant conjunctionPhilosophy of Science 69 (4): 611622. 2002.Naive deductive accounts of confirmation have the undesirable consequence that if E confirms H, then E also confirms the conjunction H & X, for any X—even if X is utterly irrelevant to H (and E). Bayesian accounts of confirmation also have this property (in the case of deductive evidence). Several Bayesians have attempted to soften the impact of this fact by arguing that—according to Bayesian accounts of confirmation— E will confirm the conjunction H & X less strongly than E confirms H (again, i…Read more

277Probability, confirmation, and the conjunction fallacyThinking and Reasoning 14 (2). 2007.The conjunction fallacy has been a key topic in debates on the rationality of human reasoning and its limitations. Despite extensive inquiry, however, the attempt to provide a satisfactory account of the phenomenon has proved challenging. Here we elaborate the suggestion (first discussed by Sides, Osherson, Bonini, & Viale, 2002) that in standard conjunction problems the fallacious probability judgements observed experimentally are typically guided by sound assessments of _confirmation_ relation…Read more

150The Wason task(s) and the paradox of confirmationPhilosophical Perspectives 24 (1): 207241. 2010.The (recent, Bayesian) cognitive science literature on the Wason Task (WT) has been modeled largely after the (notsorecent, Bayesian) philosophy of science literature on the Paradox of Confirmation (POC). In this paper, we apply some insights from more recent Bayesian approaches to the (POC) to analogous models of (WT). This involves, first, retracing the history of the (POC), and, then, reexamining the (WT) with these historicophilosophical insights in mind

41This is a high quality, concise collection of articles on the foundations of probability and statistics. Its editor, Richard Swinburne, has collected five papers by contemporary leaders in the field, written a pretty thorough and evenhanded introductory essay, and placed a very clean and accessible version of Reverend Thomas Bayes’s famous essay (“An Essay Towards the Solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances”) at the end, as an Appendix (with a brief historical introduction by the noted sta…Read more

244ProbabilityIn Jessica Pfeifer & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia, Routledge. 2006.There are two central questions concerning probability. First, what are its formal features? That is a mathematical question, to which there is a standard, widely (though not universally) agreed upon answer. This answer is reviewed in the next section. Second, what sorts of things are probabilitieswhat, that is, is the subject matter of probability theory? This is a philosophical question, and while the mathematical theory of probability certainly bears on it, the answer must come from elsewh…Read more

28Axiomatic proofs through automated reasoningBulletin of the Section of Logic 29 (3): 12536. 2000.

91It is useful to note how (CC) diﬀers from closure: (C) If S comes to believe q solely on the basis of competent deduction from p and S knows that p, then S knows that q. I won’t be discussing (C) today, but here is a useful contrast

107Teaching & learning guide for: The paradox of confirmationPhilosophy Compass 3 (5): 11031105. 2008.

20In this talk, I will explain why only one of Miller’s two types of languagedependenceofverisimilitude problems is a (potential) threat to the sorts of accuracydominance approaches to coherence that I’ve been discussing

28We’ll adopt a simple framework today. Our assumptions: A model (M) is a family of hypotheses. A hypothesis (H) is a curve plus an associated error term . For simplicity, we’ll assume a common N (0, 1) Gaussian

123Discussion: Re‐solving irrelevant conjunction with probabilistic independencePhilosophy of Science 71 (4): 505514. 2004.Naive deductivist accounts of confirmation have the undesirable consequence that if E confirms H, then E also confirms the conjunction H·X, for any X—even if X is completely irrelevant to E and H. Bayesian accounts of confirmation may appear to have the same problem. In a recent article in this journal Fitelson (2002) argued that existing Bayesian attempts to resolve of this problem are inadequate in several important respects. Fitelson then proposes a new‐and‐improved Bayesian account that over…Read more
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Metaphysics and Epistemology 
Science, Logic, and Mathematics 
Formal Epistemology 