Re: Probability

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Fri, 07 Nov 2008 10:22:13 -0800

GŁnther Greindl wrote:
> Thomas,
>> MW must be some how different from the same concept in everyday
>> language? In the latter "probably" just means "likely to happen" but
>> if EVERYTHING happens then how can the concept make sense? I guess it
>> must be two different concepts, then?
> I wouldn't say so. Always look at the word "probably" as referring to
> uncertainty in the _epistemic state of an agent_; and not as uncertainty
> what will happen in the world. Then you see that it is the same concept
> in both cases.
> Cheers,
> GŁnther
I don't think that resolves the problem. An epistemic state is a state
of knowledge, so it just pushes the problem off to the question
"knowledge of what?"

Or perhaps you're thinking of "epistemic" as a state of belief. But
then probabilities become purely subjective and something else is needed
to relate them back to things like relative frequencies.

In my view probability theory is a mathematical model and it is useful
precisely because it applies (not necessarily exactly, but as a good
approximation) to things. So one switches between relative frequency,
propensity, and subjective interpretations in a single problem.


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Received on Fri Nov 07 2008 - 13:22:12 PST

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