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Durham e-Theses
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Confirmation, Decision, and Evidential Probability

PEDEN, WILLIAM,JOHN (2017) Confirmation, Decision, and Evidential Probability. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Henry Kyburg’s theory of Evidential Probability offers a neglected tool for approaching problems in confirmation theory and decision theory. I use Evidential Probability to examine some persistent problems within these areas of the philosophy of science. Formal tools in general and probability theory in particular have great promise for conceptual analysis in confirmation theory and decision theory, but they face many challenges.

In each chapter, I apply Evidential Probability to a specific issue in confirmation theory or decision theory. In Chapter 1, I challenge the notion that Bayesian probability offers the best basis for a probabilistic theory of evidence. In Chapter 2, I criticise the conventional measures of quantities of evidence that use the degree of imprecision of imprecise probabilities. In Chapter 3, I develop an alternative to orthodox utility-maximizing decision theory using Kyburg’s system. In Chapter 4, I confront the orthodox notion that Nelson Goodman’s New Riddle of Induction makes purely formal theories of induction untenable. Finally, in Chapter 5, I defend probabilistic theories of inductive reasoning against John D. Norton’s recent collection of criticisms.

My aim is the development of fresh perspectives on classic problems and contemporary debates. I both defend and exemplify a formal approach to the philosophy of science. I argue that Evidential Probability has great potential for clarifying our concepts of evidence and rationality.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Probability; imprecise probability; induction; confirmation theory; decision theory; inductive logic; non-monotonic logic; Bayesianism; philosophy of science; Kyburg; Nelson Goodman; Ellsberg Paradox; Karl Popper.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Dec 2017 12:53

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