Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (1):100-115 (2015)

Cory Juhl
University of Texas at Austin
Statistical tests of the primality of some numbers look similar to statistical tests of many nonmathematical, clearly empirical propositions. Yet interpretations of probability prima facie appear to preclude the possibility of statistical tests of mathematical propositions. For example, it is hard to understand how the statement that n is prime could have a frequentist probability other than 0 or 1. On the other hand, subjectivist approaches appear to be saddled with ‘coherence’ constraints on rational probabilities that require rational agents to assign extremal probabilities to logical and mathematical propositions. In the light of these problems, many philosophers have come to think that there must be some way to generalize a Bayesian statistical account. In this article I propose that a classical frequentist approach should be reconsidered. I conclude that we can give a conditional justification of statistical testing of at least some mathematical hypotheses: if statistical tests provide us with reasons to believe or bet on empirical hypotheses in the standard situations, then they also provide us with reasons to believe or bet on mathematical hypotheses in the structurally similar mathematical cases
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DOI 10.1111/papq.12061
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References found in this work BETA

The Foundations of Statistics.Leonard J. Savage - 1954 - Wiley Publications in Statistics.
Theory and Evidence.Clark N. Glymour - 1980 - Princeton University Press.
Towards a Philosophy of Real Mathematics.David Corfield - 2003 - Cambridge University Press.
Towards a Philosophy of Real Mathematics.David Corfield - 2003 - Studia Logica 81 (2):285-289.

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