•  3
    Studia Logica 86 (2): 147-148. 2007.
  •  162
    Models and Reality—A Review of Brian Skyrms’s Evolution of the Social Contract
    with Martin Barrett, Ellery Eells, Elliott Sober, and Brian Skyrms
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (1): 237. 1999.
    Human beings are peculiar. In laboratory experiments, they often cooperate in one-shot 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 divide-the-cake 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
  •  260
    Four Approaches to Supposition
    with Benjamin Eva and Ted Shear
    Ergo: 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
  •  113
    Two Approaches to Belief Revision
    with Ted Shear
    Erkenntnis 84 (3): 487-518. 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
  • Introduction
    with Cherie Braden
    In Cherie Braden, Rodrigo Borges & Branden Fitelson (eds.), Themes From Klein, Springer Verlag. 2019.
  •  241
    How Not to Detect DesignThe Design Inference. William A. Dembski
    with Brandon Fitelson, Christopher Stephens, and Elliott Sober
    Philosophy of Science 66 (3): 472-488. 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
  •  127
    Measuring Confirmation and Evidence
    with Ellery Elles
    Journal of Philosophy 97 (12): 663-672. 2000.
  •  29
    Studia Logica 86 (3): 351-352. 2007.
  •  71
    Probability, confirmation, and the conjunction fallacy
    with Crupi Vincenzo and Tentori Katya
    Thinking and Reasoning 14 (2): 182-199. 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
  •  225
    Logical Foundations of Evidential Support
    Philosophy of Science 73 (5): 500-512. 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
  •  38
    The philosophical significance of Stein’s paradox
    with Olav Vassend and Elliott Sober
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (3): 411-433. 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
  •  615
    Evidence of evidence is not (necessarily) evidence
    Analysis 72 (1): 85-88. 2012.
    In this note, I consider various precisifications of the slogan ‘evidence of evidence is evidence’. I provide counter-examples to each of these precisifications (assuming an epistemic probabilistic relevance notion of ‘evidential support’)
  •  110
    Studies in Bayesian Confirmation Theory
    Dissertation, 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 non-equivalent quantitative measures of the degree to which E confirms H (under Pr). In fact, many non-equivalent Bayesian measures of the…Read more
  •  90
    A bayesian account of independent evidence with applications
    Proceedings 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-.
  •  58
    A New Garber-Style Solution to the Problem of Old Evidence
    Philosophy of Science 82 (4): 712-717. 2015.
    In this discussion note, we explain how to relax some of the standard assumptions made in Garber-style 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.
  •  100
    Putting the irrelevance back into the problem of irrelevant conjunction
    Philosophy of Science 69 (4): 611-622. 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
  •  277
    Probability, confirmation, and the conjunction fallacy
    with Vincenzo Crupi and Katya Tentori
    Thinking 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
  •  150
    The Wason task(s) and the paradox of confirmation
    Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1): 207-241. 2010.
    The (recent, Bayesian) cognitive science literature on the Wason Task (WT) has been modeled largely after the (not-so-recent, 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, re-examining the (WT) with these historico-philosophical insights in mind
  •  41
    This 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 even-handed 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
  •  244
    with Alan Hajek and Ned Hall
    In 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 probabilities---what, 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
  •  28
    Axiomatic proofs through automated reasoning
    with Larry Wos
    Bulletin of the Section of Logic 29 (3): 125-36. 2000.
  •  91
    It 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
  •  20
    In this talk, I will explain why only one of Miller’s two types of language-dependence-of-verisimilitude problems is a (potential) threat to the sorts of accuracy-dominance approaches to coherence that I’ve been discussing
  •  84
    Updating: Learning versus supposing
    with Jiaying Zhao, Vincenzo Crupi, Katya Tentori, and Daniel Osherson
    Cognition 124 (3): 373-378. 2012.
  •  65
    FEW 2009 Special Issue: Preface (review)
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 39 (6): 591-591. 2010.
  •  28
    We’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
  •  123
    Discussion: Re‐solving irrelevant conjunction with probabilistic independence
    with James Hawthorne
    Philosophy of Science 71 (4): 505-514. 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