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An Empirical Approach to Symmetry and Probability

North, Jill (2010) An Empirical Approach to Symmetry and Probability. [Preprint]


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We often rely on symmetries to infer outcomes’ probabilities, as when we infer that each side of a fair coin is equally likely to come up on a given toss. Why are these inferences successful? I argue against answering this question with an a priori indifference principle. Reasons to reject such a principle are familiar, yet instructive. They point to a new, empirical explanation for the success of our probabilistic predictions. This has implications for indifference reasoning generally. I argue that a priori symmetries need never constrain our probability attributions, even for initial credences.

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Item Type: Preprint
North, Jill
Keywords: Probability; symmetry; indifference.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Jill North
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:19
Item ID: 5192

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