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Equipossibility and Accuracy: An Old Problem for a New Argument for the Principle of Indifference

Chua, Eugene Y. S. (2021) Equipossibility and Accuracy: An Old Problem for a New Argument for the Principle of Indifference. In: UNSPECIFIED.

Laplace's Equipossibility, Accuracy, and Principle of Indifference (PSA Preprint).pdf

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For Laplace, equal possibilities entail equal probabilities. However, 'equally possible' better not mean 'equally probable' since this renders the definition circular. Yet, there doesn't seem to be a plausible 'possibility-probability link'. The attempt to justify the principle of indifference by appealing to equipossibility risks either circularity or a lack of justification. Recently, Pettigrew (2016) has provided an argument for the principle of indifference by adapting Joyce's well-known arguments from accuracy (1998/2009). Here, I will argue that Pettigrew's argument implicitly relies on the notion of equipossibility: Just like Laplace, his argument is either circular or unjustified. However, I conclude on a positive note. Pettigrew’s argument can be seen as an explication of Laplace’s argument, and hence of the principle of indifference.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Chua, Eugene Y. S.eychua@ucsd.edu0000-0002-3169-7563
Additional Information: Preprint for a talk prepared for the Philosophy of Science Association Biennial Meeting 2021.
Keywords: principle of indifference, philosophy of probability, accuracy, formal epistemology, minimax, Joyce, Pettigrew, Laplace
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Depositing User: Mr. Eugene Y. S. Chua
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2021 04:00
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2021 04:00
Item ID: 19831
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Date: November 2021

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