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Paul D. Thorn
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  1. Nick Bostrom: Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. [REVIEW]Paul D. Thorn - 2015 - Minds and Machines 25 (3):285-289.
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  2.  17
    The Joint Aggregation of Beliefs and Degrees of Belief.Paul D. Thorn - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    The article proceeds upon the assumption that the beliefs and degrees of belief of rational agents satisfy a number of constraints, including: consistency and deductive closure for belief sets, conformity to the axioms of probability for degrees of belief, and the Lockean Thesis concerning the relationship between belief and degree of belief. Assuming that the beliefs and degrees of belief of both individuals and collectives satisfy the preceding three constraints, I discuss what further constraints may be imposed on the aggregation (...)
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  3. On the Preference for More Specific Reference Classes.Paul D. Thorn - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6):2025-2051.
    In attempting to form rational personal probabilities by direct inference, it is usually assumed that one should prefer frequency information concerning more specific reference classes. While the preceding assumption is intuitively plausible, little energy has been expended in explaining why it should be accepted. In the present article, I address this omission by showing that, among the principled policies that may be used in setting one’s personal probabilities, the policy of making direct inferences with a preference for frequency information for (...)
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  4. Two Problems of Direct Inference.Paul D. Thorn - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (3):299-318.
    The article begins by describing two longstanding problems associated with direct inference. One problem concerns the role of uninformative frequency statements in inferring probabilities by direct inference. A second problem concerns the role of frequency statements with gerrymandered reference classes. I show that past approaches to the problem associated with uninformative frequency statements yield the wrong conclusions in some cases. I propose a modification of Kyburg’s approach to the problem that yields the right conclusions. Past theories of direct inference have (...)
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  5.  90
    Against Deductive Closure.Paul D. Thorn - 2017 - Theoria 83 (2):103-119.
    The present article illustrates a conflict between the claim that rational belief sets are closed under deductive consequences, and a very inclusive claim about the factors that are sufficient to determine whether it is rational to believe respective propositions. Inasmuch as it is implausible to hold that the factors listed here are insufficient to determine whether it is rational to believe respective propositions, we have good reason to deny that rational belief sets are closed under deductive consequences.
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  6.  91
    Undercutting Defeat Via Reference Properties of Differing Arity: A Reply to Pust.Paul D. Thorn - 2011 - Analysis 71 (4):662-667.
    In a recent article, Joel Pust argued that direct inference based on reference properties of differing arity are incommensurable, and so direct inference cannot be used to resolve the Sleeping Beauty problem. After discussing the defects of Pust's argument, I offer reasons for thinking that direct inferences based on reference properties of differing arity are commensurable, and that we should prefer direct inferences based on logically stronger reference properties, regardless of arity.
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  7. Cognitivist Probabilism.Paul D. Thorn - 2013 - In Vit Punochar & Petr Svarny (eds.), The Logica Yearbook 2012. College Publications. pp. 201-213.
    In this article, I introduce the term “cognitivism” as a name for the thesis that degrees of belief are equivalent to full beliefs about truth-valued propositions. The thesis (of cognitivism) that degrees of belief are equivalent to full beliefs is equivocal, inasmuch as different sorts of equivalence may be postulated between degrees of belief and full beliefs. The simplest sort of equivalence (and the sort of equivalence that I discuss here) identifies having a given degree of belief with having a (...)
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  8. Meta-Induction and the Wisdom of Crowds.Paul D. Thorn & Gerhard Schurz - 2012 - Analyse & Kritik 34 (2):339-366.
    Meta-induction, in its various forms, is an imitative prediction method, where the prediction methods and the predictions of other agents are imitated to the extent that those methods or agents have proven successful in the past. In past work, Schurz demonstrated the optimality of meta-induction as a method for predicting unknown events and quantities. However, much recent discussion, along with formal and empirical work, on the Wisdom of Crowds has extolled the virtue of diverse and independent judgment as essential to (...)
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  9. Defeasible Conditionalization.Paul D. Thorn - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (2-3):283-302.
    The applicability of Bayesian conditionalization in setting one’s posterior probability for a proposition, α, is limited to cases where the value of a corresponding prior probability, PPRI(α|∧E), is available, where ∧E represents one’s complete body of evidence. In order to extend probability updating to cases where the prior probabilities needed for Bayesian conditionalization are unavailable, I introduce an inference schema, defeasible conditionalization, which allows one to update one’s personal probability in a proposition by conditioning on a proposition that represents a (...)
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  10.  55
    Direct Inference From Imprecise Frequencies.Paul D. Thorn - 2017 - In Michela Massimi, Jan-Willem Romeijn & Gerhard Schurz (eds.), EPSA15 Selected Papers - The 5th conference of the European Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 347-358.
    It is well known that there are, at least, two sorts of cases where one should not prefer a direct inference based on a narrower reference class, in particular: cases where the narrower reference class is gerrymandered, and cases where one lacks an evidential basis for forming a precise-valued frequency judgment for the narrower reference class. I here propose (1) that the preceding exceptions exhaust the circumstances where one should not prefer direct inference based on a narrower reference class, and (...)
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  11. Qualitative Probabilistic Inference with Default Inheritance.Paul D. Thorn, Christian Eichhorn, Gabriele Kern-Isberner & Gerhard Schurz - 2015 - In Christoph Beierle, Gabriele Kern-Isberner, Marco Ragni & Frieder Stolzenburg (eds.), Proceedings of the Ki 2015 Workshop on Formal and Cognitive Reasoning. pp. 16-28.
    There are numerous formal systems that allow inference of new conditionals based on a conditional knowledge base. Many of these systems have been analysed theoretically and some have been tested against human reasoning in psychological studies, but experiments evaluating the performance of such systems are rare. In this article, we extend the experiments in [19] in order to evaluate the inferential properties of c-representations in comparison to the well-known Systems P and Z. Since it is known that System Z and (...)
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  12.  83
    A Note Concerning Infinite Regresses of Deferred Justification.Paul D. Thorn - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (1):349-357.
    An agent’s belief in a proposition, E0, is justified by an infinite regress of deferred justification just in case the belief that E0 is justified, and the justification for believing E0 proceeds from an infinite sequence of propositions, E0, E1, E2, etc., where, for all n ≥ 0, En+1 serves as the justification for En. In a number of recent articles, Atkinson and Peijnenburg claim to give examples where a belief is justified by an infinite regress of deferred justification. I (...)
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  13. Wise Crowds, Clever Meta-Inductivists.Paul D. Thorn - 2015 - In Uskali Mäki, Stéphanie Ruphy, Gerhard Schurz & Ioannis Votsis (eds.), Recent Developments in the Philosophy of Science: EPSA13 Helsinki. Springer. pp. 71-86.
    Formal and empirical work on the Wisdom of Crowds has extolled the virtue of diverse and independent judgment as essential to the maintenance of ‘wise crowds’. In other words, com-munication and imitation among members of a group may have the negative effect of decreasing the aggregate wisdom of the group. In contrast, it is demonstrable that certain meta-inductive methods provide optimal means for predicting unknown events. Such meta-inductive methods are essentially imitative, where the predictions of other agents are imitated to (...)
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  14.  61
    Attractivity Weighting: Take-the-Best's Foolproof Sibling.Paul D. Thorn & Gerhard Schurz - 2016 - In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman & J. C. Trueswell (eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society. pp. 456-461.
    We describe a prediction method called "Attractivity Weighting" (AW). In the case of cue-based paired comparison tasks, AW's prediction is based on a weighted average of the cue values of the most successful cues. In many situations, AW's prediction is based on the cue value of the most successful cue, resulting in behavior similar to Take-the-Best (TTB). Unlike TTB, AW has a desirable characteristic called "access optimality": Its long-run success is guaranteed to be at least as great as the most (...)
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  15.  61
    Qualitative Probabilistic Inference Under Varied Entropy Levels.Paul D. Thorn & Gerhard Schurz - 2016 - Journal of Applied Logic 19 (2):87-101.
    In previous work, we studied four well known systems of qualitative probabilistic inference, and presented data from computer simulations in an attempt to illustrate the performance of the systems. These simulations evaluated the four systems in terms of their tendency to license inference to accurate and informative conclusions, given incomplete information about a randomly selected probability distribution. In our earlier work, the procedure used in generating the unknown probability distribution (representing the true stochastic state of the world) tended to yield (...)
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  16. Ampliative Inference Under Varied Entropy Levels.Paul D. Thorn & Gerhard Schurz - 2013 - In Christoph Beierle & Gabriele Kern-Isberner (eds.), Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Dynamics of Knowledge and Belief (DKB-2013). Fakultät für Mathematik und Informatik, FernUniversität in Hagen. pp. 77-88.
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  17.  86
    A Utility Based Evaluation of Logico-Probabilistic Systems.Paul D. Thorn & Gerhard Schurz - 2014 - Studia Logica 102 (4):867-890.
    Systems of logico-probabilistic (LP) reasoning characterize inference from conditional assertions interpreted as expressing high conditional probabilities. In the present article, we investigate four prominent LP systems (namely, systems O, P, Z, and QC) by means of computer simulations. The results reported here extend our previous work in this area, and evaluate the four systems in terms of the expected utility of the dispositions to act that derive from the conclusions that the systems license. In addition to conforming to the dominant (...)
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  18.  53
    TTB Vs. Franklin's Rule in Environments of Different Redundancy.Gerhard Schurz & Paul D. Thorn - 2014 - Frontiers in Psychology 5:15-16.
    This addendum presents results that confound some commonly made claims about the sorts of environments in which the performance of TTB exceeds that of Franklin's rule, and vice versa.
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  19.  74
    The Normative Character of Interpretation and Mental Explanation.Paul D. Thorn - 1998 - Dissertation, Simon Fraser University
    This essay is devoted to the study of useful ways of thinking about the nature of interpretation, with particular attention being given to the so called normative character of mental explanation. My aim of illuminating the nature of interpretation will be accomplished by examining several views, some of which are common to both Donald Davidson and Daniel Dennett, concerning its unique characteristics as a method of prediction and explanation. Moreover, some of the views held by Davidson and Dennett will be (...)
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