Citations of:
Cosmic Confusions: Not Supporting versus Supporting Not
Philosophy of Science 77 (4):501523 (2010)
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In several papers, John Norton has argued that Bayesianism cannot handle ignorance adequately due to its inability to distinguish between neutral and disconfirming evidence. He argued that this inability sows confusion in, e.g., anthropic reasoning in cosmology or the Doomsday argument, by allowing one to draw unwarranted conclusions from a lack of knowledge. Norton has suggested criteria for a candidate for representation of neutral support. Imprecise credences (families of credal probability functions) constitute a Bayesianfriendly framework that allows us to avoid (...) 

If the laws of nature are as the Humean believes, it is an unexplained cosmic coincidence that the actual Humean mosaic is as extremely regular as it is. This is a strong and wellknown objection to the Humean account of laws. Yet, as reasonable as this objection may seem, it is nowadays sometimes dismissed. The reason: its unjustified implicit assignment of equiprobability to each possible Humean mosaic; that is, its assumption of the principle of indifference, which has been attacked on (...) 

The use of the material theory of induction to vindicate a scientist's claims of evidential warrant is illustrated with the cases of Einstein's thermodynamic argument for light quanta of 1905 and his recovery of the anomalous motion of Mercury from general relativity in 1915. In a survey of other accounts of inductive inference applied to these examples, I show that, if it is to succeed, each account must presume the same material facts as the material theory and, in addition, some (...) 



The cosmological constant problem is widely viewed as an important barrier and hint to merging quantum field theory and general relativity. It is a barrier insofar as it remains unsolved, and a solution may hint at a fuller theory of quantum gravity. I critically examine the arguments used to pose the cosmological constant problem, and find many of the steps poorly justified. In particular, there is little reason to accept an absolute zero point energy scale in quantum field theory, and (...) 



Inflationary cosmology has been widely accepted due to its successful predictions: for a “generic” initial state, inflation produces a homogeneous, flat, bubble with an appropriate spectrum of density perturbations. However, the discovery that inflation is “generically eternal,” leading to a vast multiverse of inflationary bubbles with different lowenergy physics, threatens to undermine this account. There is a “predictability crisis” in eternal inflation, because extracting predictions apparently requires a welldefined measure over the multiverse. This has led to discussions of anthropic predictions (...) 

Modern scientific cosmology pushes the boundaries of knowledge and the knowable. This is prompting questions on the nature of scientific knowledge. A central issue is what defines a 'good' model. When addressing global properties of the Universe or its initial state this becomes a particularly pressing issue. How to assess the probability of the Universe as a whole is empirically ambiguous, since we can examine only part of a single realisation of the system under investigation: at some point, data will (...) 

There is a growing interest in the foundations as well as the application of imprecise probability in contemporary epistemology. This dissertation is concerned with the application. In particular, the research presented concerns ways in which imprecise probability, i.e. sets of probability measures, may helpfully address certain philosophical problems pertaining to rational belief. The issues I consider are disagreement among epistemic peers, complete ignorance, and inductive reasoning with imprecise priors. For each of these topics, it is assumed that belief can be (...) 

Cosmology raises novel philosophical questions regarding the use of probabilities in inference. This work aims at identifying and assessing lines of arguments and problematic principles in probabilistic reasoning in cosmology. / The first, second, and third papers deal with the intersection of two distinct problems: accounting for selection effects, and representing ignorance or indifference in probabilistic inferences. These two problems meet in the cosmology literature when anthropic considerations are used to predict cosmological parameters by conditionalizing the distribution of, e.g., the (...) 



This paper proposes an account of scientific data that makes sense of recent debates on datadriven and ‘big data’ research, while also building on the history of data production and use particularly within biology. In this view, ‘data’ is a relational category applied to research outputs that are taken, at specific moments of inquiry, to provide evidence for knowledge claims of interest to the researchers involved. They do not have truthvalue in and of themselves, nor can they be seen as (...) 

In eternally inflating cosmology, infinitely many pocket universes are seeded. Attempts to show that universes like our observable universe are probable amongst them have failed, since no unique probability measure is recoverable. This lack of definite probabilities is taken to reveal a complete predictive failure. Inductive inference over the pocket universes, it would seem, is impossible. I argue that this conclusion of impossibility mistakes the nature of the problem. It confuses the case in which no inductive inference is possible, with (...) 

Reasoning that takes into account selflocating evidence in apparently plausible ways sometimes yields the startling conclusion that rational credences are such as if agents had bizarre causal powers. The present paper introduces a novel version of the Sleeping Beauty problem—Choosing Beauty—for which the response to the problem advocated by David Lewis unappealingly yields this conclusion. Furthermore, it suggests as a general desideratum for approaches to problems of selflocating belief that they should not recommend credences that are as if anyone had (...) 

The Doomsday argument and anthropic reasoning are two puzzling examples of probabilistic confirmation. In both cases, a lack of knowledge apparently yields surprising conclusions. Since they are formulated within a Bayesian framework, they constitute a challenge to Bayesianism. Several attempts, some successful, have been made to avoid these conclusions, but some versions of these arguments cannot be dissolved within the framework of orthodox Bayesianism. I show that adopting an imprecise framework of probabilistic reasoning allows for a more adequate representation of (...) 

Landauer's Principle asserts that there is an unavoidable cost in thermodynamic entropy when data is erased. It is sometimes deduced from a version of the second law of thermodynamics or it is posited as a way of protecting the law from violation by a Maxwell's demon. Yet the standard processes assumed in the thermodynamics of computation can be combined to produce devices that both violate the second law and erase data without entropy cost, indicating an inconsistency in the standard system. (...) 

There is currently much discussion about how decision making should proceed when an agent's degrees of belief are imprecise; represented by a set of probability functions. I show that decision rules recently discussed by Sarah Moss, Susanna Rinard and Rohan Sud all suffer from the same defect: they all struggle to rationalize diachronic ambiguity aversion. Since ambiguity aversion is among the motivations for imprecise credence, this suggests that the search for an adequate imprecise decision rule is not yet over. 

In recent years, anthropic reasoning has been used to justify a number of controversial skeptical hypotheses. In this paper, we consider two prominent examples, viz. Bostrom’s ‘Simulation Argument’ and the problem of ‘Boltzmann Brains’ in big bang cosmology. We argue that these cases call into question the assumption, central to Bayesian confirmation theory, that the relation of evidential confirmation is universally symmetric. We go on to argue that the fact that these arguments appear to contradict this fundamental assumption should not (...) 

Landauer's Principle asserts that there is an unavoidable cost in thermodynamic entropy creation when data is erased. It is usually derived from incorrect assumptions, most notably, that erasure must compress the phase space of a memory device or that thermodynamic entropy arises from the probabilistic uncertainty of random data. Recent work seeks to prove Landauer’s Principle without using these assumptions. I show that the processes assumed in the proof, and in the thermodynamics of computation more generally, can be combined to (...) 