Journal Article

Selection Biases in Likelihood Arguments

Matthew Kotzen

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 63, issue 4, pages 825-839
Published in print December 2012 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online February 2012 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axr044
Selection Biases in Likelihood Arguments

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Most philosophers accept some version of the requirement of total evidence (RTE), which tells us to always update on our complete evidence, which often includes ‘background information’ about how that evidence was collected. But different philosophers disagree about how to implement that requirement. In this article, I argue against one natural picture of how to implement the RTE in likelihood arguments, and I argue in favor of a different picture. I also apply my picture to the controversy over the so-called ‘Objection from Anthropic Bias’ to the fine-tuning argument, and argue that the Objection from Anthropic Bias fails.

1Introduction

2The Likelihood Principle

3The FTA

4Eddington's Fish and the Requirement of Total Evidence

5LP* and the Objection from Anthropic Bias

6Problems with LP*

  6.1The line-drawing problem

  6.2Firing squad cases

  6.3Probabilistic dependence between I and the hypotheses

7My Proposal

8Other Views

Journal Article.  6475 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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