Re: Doomsday Argument (was: a baysian solution)

From: Nick Bostrom <>
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 01:53:02 +0000

Wei wrote:

> I don't understand your reasoning then.
> Something strange is going on here, but I don't know what. If I'm right,
> everyone in this scenario should believe the universe is equally likely to
> be type A as type B and then change his mind after learning his name. A
> simple Dutch book argument suggests this is irrational

Yes, that is exactly my point. If you see how the hypothetical
reasoning I gave leads to this absurdity, then you have seen the
reductio, and I might not need to try to explain it in more detail?

>, but as far as I
> can see the probability computations are correct. May I'm missing
> something obvious.

Yes: that it is not rational to consider one's name a random sample
from the set of all possible names.Once this is realized, the
absurd conclusion won't follow.

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
London School of Economics
Received on Thu Apr 23 1998 - 18:12:09 PDT

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