The Grading of Inductive Probability

L. Jonathan Cohen

in The Probable and The Provable

Published in print December 1977 | ISBN: 9780198244127
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680748 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

The Grading of Inductive Probability

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This chapter investigates the grading of inductive probability. It first evaluates the relation between inductive support and inductive probability. In the assessment of an inductive probability, favourable and unfavourable circumstances may be balanced off against one another. A tree-structure simile is available. Uncounteracted favourable evidence raises the inductive probability of a proposition, but uncounteracted unfavourable evidence reduces it to zero — which is not at all the same as making the proposition's negation certain. A statement of the inductive probability of S on R may be construed as grading the informativeness (what Keynes called the weight) of R in favour of S. If R states all the relevant evidence known and the inductive probability of S on R is high enough, it may be reasonable to believe that S is true, but one cannot detach here a monadic, unconditional grading for the inductive probability of S.

Keywords: inductive probability; inductive support; grading; tree-structure simile; informativeness

Chapter.  6884 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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