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A Bayesian analysis of self-undermining arguments in physics

Wallace, David (2022) A Bayesian analysis of self-undermining arguments in physics. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Some theories in physics seem to be `self-undermining': that is, if they are correct, we are probably mistaken about the evidence that apparently supports them. For instance, certain cosmological theories have the apparent consequence that most observers are so-called `Boltzmann brains', which exist only momentarily and whose apparent experiences and memories are not veridical. I provide a Bayesian analysis to demonstrate why theories of this kind are not after all supported by the apparent evidence in their favor, taking advantage of the split between `primary evidence', which directly supports a theory, and `proximal evidence', which is our evidence (largely records and testimony) for the primary evidence.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Wallace, Daviddavid.wallace@pitt.edu
Keywords: Bayesianism Self-undermining arguments Cognitive instability Boltzmann brains
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Evidence
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Professor David Wallace
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2022 04:10
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2022 04:10
Item ID: 20487
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Evidence
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20487

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