I argue for a connection between two debates in the philosophy of probability. On the one hand, there is disagreement about conditional probability. Is it to be defined in terms of unconditional probability, or should we instead take conditional probability as the primitive notion? On the other hand, there is disagreement about how additive probability is. Is it merely finitely additive, or is it additionally countably additive? My thesis is that, if conditional probability is primitive, then it is not countably (...) additive. (shrink)
In a fair, infinite lottery, it is possible to conclude that drawing a number divisible by four is strictly less likely than drawing an even number; and, with apparently equal cogency, that drawing a number divisible by four is equally as likely as drawing an even number.
This paper studies connections between two alternatives to the standard probability calculus for representing and reasoning about uncertainty: imprecise probability andcomparative probability. The goal is to identify complete logics for reasoning about uncertainty in a comparative probabilistic language whose semantics is given in terms of imprecise probability. Comparative probability operators are interpreted as quantifying over a set of probability measures. Modal and dynamic operators are added for reasoning about epistemic possibility and updating sets of probability measures.
A probability distribution is regular if it does not assign probability zero to any possible event. Williamson argued that we should not require probabilities to be regular, for if we do, certain “isomorphic” physical events must have different probabilities, which is implausible. His remarks suggest an assumption that chances are determined by intrinsic, qualitative circumstances. Weintraub responds that Williamson’s coin flip events differ in their inclusion relations to each other, or the inclusion relations between their times, and this can account (...) for their differences in probability. Haverkamp and Schulz rebut Weintraub, but their rebuttal fails because the events in their example are even less symmetric than Williamson’s. However, Weintraub’s argument also fails, for it ignores the distinction between intrinsic, qualitative differences and relations of time and bare identity. Weintraub could rescue her argument by claiming that the events differ in duration, under a non-standard and problematic conception of duration. However, we can modify Williamson’s example with Special Relativity so that there is no absolute inclusion relation between the times, and neither event has longer duration except relative to certain reference frames. Hence, Weintraub’s responses do not apply unless chance is observer-relative, which is also problematic. Finally, another symmetry argument defeats even the appeal to frame-dependent durations, for there the events have the same finite duration and are entirely disjoint, as are their respective times and places. (shrink)
This paper addresses the issue of finite versus countable additivity in Bayesian probability and decision theory -- in particular, Savage's theory of subjective expected utility and personal probability. I show that Savage's reason for not requiring countable additivity in his theory is inconclusive. The assessment leads to an analysis of various highly idealised assumptions commonly adopted in Bayesian theory, where I argue that a healthy dose of, what I call, conceptual realism is often helpful in understanding the interpretational value of (...) sophisticated mathematical structures employed in applied sciences like decision theory. In the last part, I introduce countable additivity into Savage's theory and explore some technical properties in relation to other axioms of the system. (shrink)
A historical review and philosophical look at the introduction of “negative probability” as well as “complex probability” is suggested. The generalization of “probability” is forced by mathematical models in physical or technical disciplines. Initially, they are involved only as an auxiliary tool to complement mathematical models to the completeness to corresponding operations. Rewards, they acquire ontological status, especially in quantum mechanics and its formulation as a natural information theory as “quantum information” after the experimental confirmation the phenomena of “entanglement”. Philosophical (...) interpretations appear. A generalization of them is suggested: ontologically, they correspond to a relevant generalization to the relation of a part and its whole where the whole is a subset of the part rather than vice versa. The structure of “vector space” is involved necessarily in order to differ the part “by itself” from it in relation to the whole as a projection within it. That difference is reflected in the new dimension of vector space both mathematically and conceptually. Then, “negative or complex probability” are interpreted as a quantity corresponding the generalized case where the part can be “bigger” than the whole, and it is represented only partly in general within the whole. (shrink)
We discuss Herzberg’s :319–337, 2015) treatment of linear aggregation for profiles of infinitely many finitely additive probabilities and suggest a natural alternative to his definition of linear continuous aggregation functions. We then prove generalizations of well-known characterization results due to :410–414, 1981). We also characterize linear aggregation of probabilities in terms of a Pareto condition, de Finetti’s notion of coherence, and convexity.
The problem of inferring probability comparisons between events from an initial set of comparisons arises in several contexts, ranging from decision theory to artificial intelligence to formal semantics. In this paper, we treat the problem as follows: beginning with a binary relation ≥ on events that does not preclude a probabilistic interpretation, in the sense that ≥ has extensions that are probabilistically representable, we characterize the extension ≥+ of ≥ that is exactly the intersection of all probabilistically representable extensions of (...) ≥. This extension ≥+ gives us all the additional comparisons that we are entitled to infer from ≥, based on the assumption that there is some probability measure of which ≥ gives us partial qualitative information. We pay special attention to the problem of extending an order on states to an order on events. In addition to the probabilistic interpretation, this problem has a more general interpretation involving measurement of any additive quantity: e.g., given comparisons between the weights of individual objects, what comparisons between the weights of groups of objects can we infer? (shrink)
According to orthodox (Kolmogorovian) probability theory, conditional probabilities are by definition certain ratios of unconditional probabilities. As a result, orthodox conditional probabilities are undefined whenever their antecedents have zero unconditional probability. This has important ramifications for the notion of probabilistic independence. Traditionally, independence is defined in terms of unconditional probabilities (the factorization of the relevant joint unconditional probabilities). Various “equivalent” formulations of independence can be given using conditional probabilities. But these “equivalences” break down if conditional probabilities are permitted to have (...) conditions with zero unconditional probability. We reconsider probabilistic independence in this more general setting. We argue that a less orthodox but more general (Popperian) theory of conditional probability should be used, and that much of the conventional wisdom about probabilistic independence needs to be rethought. (shrink)
Stochastic independence has a complex status in probability theory. It is not part of the definition of a probability measure, but it is nonetheless an essential property for the mathematical development of this theory. Bayesian decision theorists such as Savage can be criticized for being silent about stochastic independence. From their current preference axioms, they can derive no more than the definitional properties of a probability measure. In a new framework of twofold uncertainty, we introduce preference axioms that entail not (...) only these definitional properties, but also the stochastic independence of the two sources of uncertainty. This goes some way towards filling a curious lacuna in Bayesian decision theory. (shrink)
We prove that the generalized cancellation axiom for incomplete comparative probability relations introduced by Rios Insua and Alon and Lehrer is stronger than the standard cancellation axiom for complete comparative probability relations introduced by Scott, relative to their other axioms for comparative probability in both the finite and infinite cases. This result has been suggested but not proved in the previous literature.
We propose an alternative approach to probability theory closely related to the framework of numerosity theory: non-Archimedean probability (NAP). In our approach, unlike in classical probability theory, all subsets of an infinite sample space are measurable and only the empty set gets assigned probability zero (in other words: the probability functions are regular). We use a non-Archimedean field as the range of the probability function. As a result, the property of countable additivity in Kolmogorov’s axiomatization of probability is replaced by (...) a different type of infinite additivity. (shrink)
In this contribution, we focus on probabilistic problems with a denumerably or non-denumerably infinite number of possible outcomes. Kolmogorov (1933) provided an axiomatic basis for probability theory, presented as a part of measure theory, which is a branch of standard analysis or calculus. Since standard analysis does not allow for non-Archimedean quantities (i.e. infinitesimals), we may call Kolmogorov's approach "Archimedean probability theory". We show that allowing non-Archimedean probability values may have considerable epistemological advantages in the infinite case. The current paper (...) focuses on the motivation for our new axiomatization. (shrink)
A possible event always seems to be more probable than an impossible event. Although this constraint, usually alluded to as regularity , is prima facie very attractive, it cannot hold for standard probabilities. Moreover, in a recent paper Timothy Williamson has challenged even the idea that regularity can be integrated into a comparative conception of probability by showing that the standard comparative axioms conflict with certain cases if regularity is assumed. In this note, we suggest that there is a natural (...) weakening of the standard comparative axioms. It is shown that these axioms are consistent both with the regularity condition and with the essential feature of Williamson’s example. (shrink)
One of the many intriguing features of the axiomatic systems of probability investigated in Popper (1959), appendices _iv, _v, is the different status of the two arguments of the probability functor with regard to the laws of replacement and commutation. The laws for the first argument, (rep1) and (comm1), follow from much simpler axioms, whilst (rep2) and (comm2) are independent of them, and have to be incorporated only when most of the important deductions have been accomplished. It is plain that, (...) in the presence of (comm1), the principle (sub), which says that terms that are intersubstitutable in the first argument are intersubstitutable also in the second argument, implies (comm2), and in Popper’s systems the converse implication obtains. It is naturally asked what is needed in an axiomatic theory of probability in order to enforce this equivalence. Leblanc (1981) offered a rather weak set of axioms, containing (comm1) and (comm2), that suffice for the derivation of (sub). In this paper Leblanc’s result is improved in a number of different ways. Three weaker systems, one of which is incomparable with the other two, are shown to admit the same implication. DOI:10.5007/1808-1711.2011v15n2p271. (shrink)
In his "From classical to constructive probability," Weatherson offers a generalization of Kolmogorov's axioms of classical probability that is neutral regarding the logic for the object-language. Weatherson's generalized notion of probability can hardly be regarded as adequate, as the example of supervaluationist logic shows. At least, if we model credences as betting rates, the Dutch-Book argument strategy does not support Weatherson's notion of supervaluationist probability, but various alternatives. Depending on whether supervaluationist bets are specified as (a) conditional bets (Cantwell), (b) (...) unconditional bets with graded payoffs (Milne), or (c) unconditional bets with ungraded payoffs(Dietz), supervaluationist probability amounts to (a) conditional probability of truth given a truth-value, (b) the expected truth-value, or (c) the probability of truth, respectively. It is suggested that for supervaluationist logic, the third option is the most attractive one, for (unlike the other options) it preserves respect for single-premise entailment. (shrink)
In a penetrating investigation of the relationship between belief and quantitative degrees of confidence (or degrees of belief) Richard Foley (1992) suggests the following thesis: ... it is epistemically rational for us to believe a proposition just in case it is epistemically rational for us to have a sufficiently high degree of confidence in it, sufficiently high to make our attitude towards it one of belief. Foley goes on to suggest that rational belief may be just rational degree of confidence (...) above some threshold level that the agent deems sufficient for belief. He finds hints of this view in Locke’s discussion of probability and degrees of assent, so he calls it the Lockean Thesis.1 The Lockean Thesis has important implications for the logic of belief. Most prominently, it implies that even a logically ideal agent whose degrees of confidence satisfy the axioms of probability theory may quite rationally believe each of a large body of propositions that are jointly inconsistent. For example, an agent may legitimately believe that on each given occasion her well-maintained car will start, but nevertheless believe that she will eventually encounter a.. (shrink)
We provide self-contained proof of a theorem relating probabilistic coherence of forecasts to their non-domination by rival forecasts with respect to any proper scoring rule. The theorem recapitulates insights achieved by other investigators, and clarifi es the connection of coherence and proper scoring rules to Bregman divergence.
By supplying propositional calculus with a probability semantics we showed, in our 1996, that finite stochastic problems can be treated by logic-theoretic means equally as well as by the usual set-theoretic ones. In the present paper we continue the investigation to further the use of logical notions in probability theory. It is shown that quantifier logic, when supplied with a probability semantics, is capable of treating stochastic problems involving countably many trials.
Many argued (Accardi and Fedullo, Pitowsky) that Kolmogorov's axioms of classical probability theory are incompatible with quantum probabilities, and that this is the reason for the violation of Bell's inequalities. Szabó showed that, in fact, these inequalities are not violated by the experimentally observed frequencies if we consider the real, “effective” frequencies. We prove in this work a theorem which generalizes this results: “effective” frequencies associated to quantum events always admit a Kolmogorovian representation, when these events are collected through different (...) experimental setups, the choice of which obeys a classical distribution. (shrink)
Personal probability is now a familiar subject in epistemology, together with such more venerable notions as knowledge and belief. But there are severe strains between probability and belief; if either is taken as the more basic, the other may suffer. After explaining the difficulties of attempts to accommodate both, I shall propose a unified account which takes conditional personal probability as basic. Full belief is therefore a defined, derivative notion. Yet we will still be able to picture opinion as follows: (...) my subjective probability is only a grading of the possibilities left open by my beliefs. My conditional probabilities generally derive from the strongest belief I can maintain when admitting the relevant condition. (shrink)
Shown here is that a constraint used by Popper in The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959) for calculating the absolute probability of a universal quantification, and one introduced by Stalnaker in "Probability and Conditionals" (1970, 70) for calculating the relative probability of a negation, are too weak for the job. The constraint wanted in the first case is in Bendall (1979) and that wanted in the second case is in Popper (1959).
In this paper the role of the mathematical probability models in the classical and quantum physics is shortly analyzed. In particular the formal structure of the quantum probability spaces (QPS) is contrasted with the usual Kolmogorovian models of probability by putting in evidence the connections between this structure and the fundamental principles of the quantum mechanics. The fact that there is no unique Kolmogorovian model reproducing a QPS is recognized as one of the main reasons of the paradoxical behaviors pointed (...) out in the quantum theory from its early days. (shrink)
We propose an alternative resolution of Simpson's paradox in multiple classification experiments, using a different maximum likelihood estimator. In the center of our analysis is a formal representation of free choice and randomization that is based on the notion of incompatible measurements.We first introduce a representation of incompatible measurements as a collection of sets of outcomes. This leads to a natural generalization of Kolmogoroff's axioms of probability. We then discuss the existence and uniqueness of the maximum likelihood estimator for a (...) probability weight on such a generalized sample space, given absolute frequency data.As a first example, we discuss an estimation problem with censured data that classically admits only biased ad hoc estimators.Next, we derive an explicit solution of the maximum likelihood estimation problem for a large class of experiments that arise from various kids of compositions of sample spaces. We identify the (categorical) direct sum of sample spaces as a representation of “free choice,” and the (categorical) direct product as a representation of “randomization.”Finally, we apply the foregoing discussion to the case of multiple classification experiments in order to show that there is no Simpson's paradox if the difference between free choice and randomization is recognized in the structure of the experiment.A comparison between our new estimator and the “usual” calculation can be summarized as follows: Pooling the data over one classification factor in the “usual” way in fact destroys or ignores the information contained in it, whereas our proposed maximum likelihood estimator is a proper marginal over this factor that “averages out” the information contained in it. The estimators agree with each other in the case of proportional sample sizes. (shrink)
It is argued that models of H. Jeffreys' axioms of probability (Jeffreys  1967) are not monotone even with I. J. Good's proposed modification (Good 1950). Hence the additivity axiom seems essential to a theory of probability as it is with Kolmogorov's system (Kolmogorov 1950).
A new formulation involving fulfillment of all the Kolmogorov axioms is suggested for acomplete probability theory. This proves to be not a purely mathematical discipline. Probability theory deals with abstract objects—images of various classes of concrete objects—whereas experimental statistics deals with concrete objects alone. Both have to be taken into account. Quantum physics and classical statistical physics prove to be different aspects ofone probabilistic physics. The connection of quantum mechanics with classical statistical mechanics is examined and the origin of the (...) Schrödinger equation is elucidated. Attention is given to the true meaning of the wave-corpuscle duality, and the incompleteness of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics is explained. (shrink)
Dr Edwards' stimulating and provocative book advances the thesis that the appropriate axiomatic basis for inductive inference is not that of probability, with its addition axiom, but rather likelihood - the concept introduced by Fisher as a measure of relative support amongst different hypotheses. Starting from the simplest considerations and assuming no more than a modest acquaintance with probability theory, the author sets out to reconstruct nothing less than a consistent theory of statistical inference in science.