A number of my posts have looked at the tight connection between rationality and probability. One of the pioneers of this kind of work was Frank Plumpton Ramsey, who made major contributions to mathematics, economics, psychology, and philosophy before passing away at the young age of 26. Ramsey was also a friend of the influential… Continue reading Paper Review: Knowledge

# Tag: probability

## Paper Review: Contribution to discussion on Probability

Probability can seem like a slippery notion. Indeed, though we have an intuitive notion of various aspects of probability, it took a long time for humanity to develop a rigorous formal theory. And even with the mathematics of probability on surer footing, the interpretation of probability -- what does it mean -- is still plagued… Continue reading Paper Review: Contribution to discussion on Probability

## Paper Review: The Semantics Latent in Shannon Entropy

One joke about philosophers is that we walk around all day just going, "what does it all mean?" Though it is a joke, some philosophers are concerned with meaning. I don't mean meaning in a kind of ethical, "why are we here?" sense (although some philosophers are concerned with that), but rather what we mean… Continue reading Paper Review: The Semantics Latent in Shannon Entropy

## Paper Review: Decision Theory Without Representation Theorems

Decision theory seeks to understand how rational agents should act. More specifically, I am talking about normative decision theory. There is also descriptive decision theory which tries to characterize how people in fact act. For this post (and most of my posts) I will focus on normative decision theory. Importantly, the "should" here is not… Continue reading Paper Review: Decision Theory Without Representation Theorems

## Paper Review: Difficulties in the Theory of Personal Probability

Readers of the blog will know that I am a fan of the Bayesian approach to probability. This approach is also sometimes called "personal probability", because it takes probabilities to be the degrees of belief (or credences) of rational agents. We can think of using probability like this as a framework for managing uncertainty in… Continue reading Paper Review: Difficulties in the Theory of Personal Probability

## Paper Review: Bell’s Theorem: The Price of Locality

Quantum phenomena--and the theories built to account for them--can be strange. One of the most fundamental and (to some), spooky, things about quantum mechanics is action at a distance. What exactly is action at a distance in quantum mechanics, and what are its implications? This is one of the central questions of Tim Maudlin's book… Continue reading Paper Review: Bell’s Theorem: The Price of Locality

## Paper Review: Why Conditionalize?

How should we change our beliefs in the light of new information? This is one of the central questions of epistemology, and has great practical importance. For example, consider a doctor who has a patient who is concerned he might have cancer. The doctor has certain beliefs: for example, she may think that her patient… Continue reading Paper Review: Why Conditionalize?

## Paper Review: No Free Lunch Theorem, Inductive Skepticism, and the Optimality of Meta-induction

The infamous no free lunch theorem (NFL theorem) asserts that all computable prediction methods have equal expected success. Computer scientists, and occasionally philosophers, often describe this result as a computer-science cousin of Hume's problem of induction. Given this theorem, one might think that trying to design a better or worse prediction algorithm for general prediction tasks is pointless:… Continue reading Paper Review: No Free Lunch Theorem, Inductive Skepticism, and the Optimality of Meta-induction

## Paper Review: Symmetry and its Discontents

Why should one expect the future to resemble the past? This is one formulation of Hume's problem of induction. Consider the claim that the sun will rise tomorrow. Why should we expect this? It is true that it has risen every day we've been alive, and every day for a few billion years before that.… Continue reading Paper Review: Symmetry and its Discontents