Episode 6

#6 - Philosophy of Probability I: Introduction


July 1st, 2020

1 hr 17 mins 5 secs

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About this Episode

Don't leave yet - we swear this will be more interesting than it sounds ...

... But a drink will definitely help. Ben and Vaden dive into the interpretations behind probability. What do people mean when they use the word, and why do we use this one tool to describe different concepts. The rowdiness truly kicks in when Vaden releases his pent-up critique of Bayesianism, thereby losing both his friends and PhD position. But at least he's ingratiated himself with Karl Popper.


  • Vaden's  Slides on a 1975 paper by Irving John Good titled Explicativity, Corroboration, and the Relative Odds of Hypotheses. The paper is I.J. Good’s response to Karl Popper, and in the presentation I compare the two philosophers’ views on probability, epistemology, induction, simplicity, and content.
  • Diversity in Interpretations of Probability: Implications for Weather Forecasting
  • Andrew Gelman, Philosophy and the practice of Bayesian statistics
  • Popper quote: "Those who identify confirmation with probability must believe that a high degree of probability is desirable. They implicitly accept the rule: ‘Always choose the most probable hypothesis!’ Now it can be easily shown that this rule is equivalent to the following rule: ‘Always choose the hypothesis which goes as little beyond the evidence as possible!’ And this, in turn, can be shown to be equivalent, not only to ‘Always accept the hypothesis with the lowest content (within the limits of your task, for example, your task of predicting)!’, but also to ‘Always choose the hypothesis which has the highest degree of ad hoc character (within the limits of your task)!’" (Conjectures and Refutations p.391) 

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audio updated 13/12/2020