An Automatic Ockham’s Razor for Bayesians?

An Automatic Ockham’s Razor for Bayesians? Erkenn https://doi.org/10.1007/s10670-018-0011-y ORI G INAL RESEARCH Gordon Belot Received: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018 Abstract It is sometimes claimed that the Bayesian framework automatically implements Ockham’s razor—that conditionalizing on data consistent with both a simple theory and a complex theory more or less inevitably favours the simpler theory. It is shown here that the automatic razor doesn’t in fact cut it for certain mundane curve-fitting problems. 1 Introduction It is sometimes alleged that, across an array of interesting cases, the Bayesian framework automatically implements Ockham’s razor: conditionalizing on data accounted for equally well by both a simple theory and a complex theory more or less inevitably favours the simpler theory. Roughly speaking, the idea is as follows. Suppose that we are able to account for the data seen so far using members of a smaller family of hypotheses (with fewer adjustable parameters) as well as members of a larger family of hypotheses (with more adjustable parameters). Within the smaller family we expect that the live hypotheses are fairly similar to one another compared to how similar the live hypotheses are to one another in the larger family—that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Erkenntnis Springer Journals

An Automatic Ockham’s Razor for Bayesians?

Erkenntnis , Volume OnlineFirst – Jun 6, 2018
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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy, general; Epistemology; Ontology; Ethics; Logic
ISSN
0165-0106
eISSN
1572-8420
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10670-018-0011-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Erkenn https://doi.org/10.1007/s10670-018-0011-y ORI G INAL RESEARCH Gordon Belot Received: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018 Abstract It is sometimes claimed that the Bayesian framework automatically implements Ockham’s razor—that conditionalizing on data consistent with both a simple theory and a complex theory more or less inevitably favours the simpler theory. It is shown here that the automatic razor doesn’t in fact cut it for certain mundane curve-fitting problems. 1 Introduction It is sometimes alleged that, across an array of interesting cases, the Bayesian framework automatically implements Ockham’s razor: conditionalizing on data accounted for equally well by both a simple theory and a complex theory more or less inevitably favours the simpler theory. Roughly speaking, the idea is as follows. Suppose that we are able to account for the data seen so far using members of a smaller family of hypotheses (with fewer adjustable parameters) as well as members of a larger family of hypotheses (with more adjustable parameters). Within the smaller family we expect that the live hypotheses are fairly similar to one another compared to how similar the live hypotheses are to one another in the larger family—that

Journal

ErkenntnisSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 6, 2018

References

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