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Cosmic Confusions: Not Supporting versus Supporting Not-

Norton, John D. (2012) Cosmic Confusions: Not Supporting versus Supporting Not-. [Preprint]

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    Bayesian probabilistic explication of inductive inference conflates neutrality of supporting evidence for some hypothesis H (“not supporting H”) with disfavoring evidence (“supporting not-H”). This expressive inadequacy leads to spurious results that are artifacts of a poor choice of inductive logic. I illustrate how such artifacts have arisen in simple inductive inferences in cosmology. In the inductive disjunctive fallacy, neutral support for many possibilities is spuriously converted into strong support for their disjunction. The Bayesian “doomsday argument” is shown to rely entirely on a similar artifact, for the result disappears in a reanalysis that employs fragments of inductive logic able to represent evidential neutrality. Finally, the mere supposition of a multiverse is not yet enough to warrant the introduction of probabilities without some factual analog of a randomizer over the multiverses.

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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: The new version is altered considerably and contains much new material. This is a preprint of the article with the same title appearing in Philosophy of Science, 77 (2010), pp. 501-23.
    Keywords: Bayes confirmation cosmology doomsday argument induction probability
    Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
    Depositing User: John Norton
    Date Deposited: 12 May 2012 09:11
    Last Modified: 12 May 2012 09:11
    Item ID: 9114

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