The Frequency Hypothesis and Evolutionary Arguments

Kagaku Tetsugaku 41 (1):79-94 (2008)
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Abstract

Gerd Gigerenzer's views on probabilistic reasoning in humans have come under close scrutiny. Very little attention, however, has been paid to his evolutionary component of his argument. According to Gigerenzer, reasoning about probabilities as frequencies is so common today because it was favored by natural selection in the past. This paper presents a critical examination of this argument. It will show first, that, _pace_ Gigerenzer, there are some reasons to believe that using the frequency format was not more adaptive than using the standard (percentage) format and, second, that Gigerenzer's evolutionary argument and his other arguments such as his historical description of the notion of probability are in tension with each other.

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Yuichi Amitani
University of Pittsburgh

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