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Michael Nielsen
University of Sydney
  1. Persistent Disagreement and Polarization in a Bayesian Setting.Michael Nielsen & Rush T. Stewart - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (1):51-78.
    For two ideally rational agents, does learning a finite amount of shared evidence necessitate agreement? No. But does it at least guard against belief polarization, the case in which their opinions get further apart? No. OK, but are rational agents guaranteed to avoid polarization if they have access to an infinite, increasing stream of shared evidence? No.
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  2. Accuracy-dominance and conditionalization.Michael Nielsen - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3217-3236.
    Epistemic decision theory produces arguments with both normative and mathematical premises. I begin by arguing that philosophers should care about whether the mathematical premises (1) are true, (2) are strong, and (3) admit simple proofs. I then discuss a theorem that Briggs and Pettigrew (2020) use as a premise in a novel accuracy-dominance argument for conditionalization. I argue that the theorem and its proof can be improved in a number of ways. First, I present a counterexample that shows that one (...)
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  3. Obligation, Permission, and Bayesian Orgulity.Michael Nielsen & Rush T. Stewart - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
    This essay has two aims. The first is to correct an increasingly popular way of misunderstanding Belot's Orgulity Argument. The Orgulity Argument charges Bayesianism with defect as a normative epistemology. For concreteness, our argument focuses on Cisewski et al.'s recent rejoinder to Belot. The conditions that underwrite their version of the argument are too strong and Belot does not endorse them on our reading. A more compelling version of the Orgulity Argument than Cisewski et al. present is available, however---a point (...)
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  4. Another Approach to Consensus and Maximally Informed Opinions with Increasing Evidence.Rush T. Stewart & Michael Nielsen - 2018 - Philosophy of Science (2):236-254.
    Merging of opinions results underwrite Bayesian rejoinders to complaints about the subjective nature of personal probability. Such results establish that sufficiently similar priors achieve consensus in the long run when fed the same increasing stream of evidence. Initial subjectivity, the line goes, is of mere transient significance, giving way to intersubjective agreement eventually. Here, we establish a merging result for sets of probability measures that are updated by Jeffrey conditioning. This generalizes a number of different merging results in the literature. (...)
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  5.  15
    Counterexamples to Some Characterizations of Dilation.Michael Nielsen & Rush T. Stewart - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (5):1107-1118.
    We provide counterexamples to some purported characterizations of dilation due to Pedersen and Wheeler :1305–1342, 2014, ISIPTA ’15: Proceedings of the 9th international symposium on imprecise probability: theories and applications, 2015).
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  6.  58
    On the Possibility of Testimonial Justice.Rush T. Stewart & Michael Nielsen - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (4):732-746.
    Recent impossibility theorems for fair risk assessment extend to the domain of epistemic justice. We translate the relevant model, demonstrating that the problems of fair risk assessment and just credibility assessment are structurally the same. We motivate the fairness criteria involved in the theorems as also being appropriate in the setting of testimonial justice. Any account of testimonial justice that implies the fairness/justice criteria must be abandoned, on pain of triviality.
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  7. Speed-Optimal Induction and Dynamic Coherence.Michael Nielsen & Eric Wofsey - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (2):439-455.
    A standard way to challenge convergence-based accounts of inductive success is to claim that they are too weak to constrain inductive inferences in the short run. We respond to such a challenge by answering some questions raised by Juhl (1994). When it comes to predicting limiting relative frequencies in the framework of Reichenbach, we show that speed-optimal convergence—a long-run success condition—induces dynamic coherence in the short run.
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  8. Counterexamples to Some Characterizations of Dilation.Michael Nielsen & Rush T. Stewart - 2019 - Erkenntnis 86 (5):1107-1118.
    Pedersen and Wheeler (2014) and Pedersen and Wheeler (2015) offer a wide-ranging and in-depth exploration of the phenomenon of dilation. We find that these studies raise many interesting and important points. However, purportedly general characterizations of dilation are reported in them that, unfortunately, admit counterexamples. The purpose of this note is to show in some detail that these characterization results are false.
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  9.  84
    On the Best Accuracy Arguments for Probabilism.Michael Nielsen - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-9.
    In a recent paper, Pettigrew (2021) reports a generalization of the celebrated accuracy-dominance theorem due to Predd et al. (2009). But Pettigrew’s proof is incorrect. I will explain the mistakes and provide a correct proof.
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  10. Conglomerability, Disintegrability and the Comparative Principle.Rush T. Stewart & Michael Nielsen - 2021 - Analysis 81 (3):479-488.
    Our aim here is to present a result that connects some approaches to justifying countable additivity. This result allows us to better understand the force of a recent argument for countable additivity due to Easwaran. We have two main points. First, Easwaran’s argument in favour of countable additivity should have little persuasive force on those permissive probabilists who have already made their peace with violations of conglomerability. As our result shows, Easwaran’s main premiss – the comparative principle – is strictly (...)
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  11. Distention for Sets of Probabilities.Rush T. Stewart & Michael Nielsen - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-16.
    A prominent pillar of Bayesian philosophy is that, relative to just a few constraints, priors “wash out” in the limit. Bayesians often appeal to such asymptotic results as a defense against charges of excessive subjectivity. But, as Seidenfeld and coauthors observe, what happens in the short run is often of greater interest than what happens in the limit. They use this point as one motivation for investigating the counterintuitive short run phenomenon of dilation since, it is alleged, “dilation contrasts with (...)
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