Swinburne's Challenge: A Note on Probability Estimates for Nontypical Potential Evidence Instances

Swinburne's Challenge: A Note on Probability Estimates for Nontypical Potential Evidence Instances General confirmation theory, and especially its Bayesian variant, has never been able to adequately address the issue of how to handle qualitative evidence instances. Such statements encompass a wide class including historical claims, those of the human sciences not incorporating quantitative models, legal statements and the like. The issue was recognized by the philosopher Swinburne (1973) who puzzled how such statements as, ‘Caesar crossed the Rubicon’, could be assigned a meaningful probability estimate. The present paper suggests that such statements can be transformed into, at least, plausible probability estimates. This requires a two step process: judgements made by credible raters, and the transformation of judgements into one or more reliability co-efficients. These reliability estimates can then be utilized in the standard Bayesian model to yield plausible degrees of belief between hypothesis and evidence. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

Swinburne's Challenge: A Note on Probability Estimates for Nontypical Potential Evidence Instances

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Social Sciences; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
ISSN
0033-5177
eISSN
1573-7845
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1004656925771
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

General confirmation theory, and especially its Bayesian variant, has never been able to adequately address the issue of how to handle qualitative evidence instances. Such statements encompass a wide class including historical claims, those of the human sciences not incorporating quantitative models, legal statements and the like. The issue was recognized by the philosopher Swinburne (1973) who puzzled how such statements as, ‘Caesar crossed the Rubicon’, could be assigned a meaningful probability estimate. The present paper suggests that such statements can be transformed into, at least, plausible probability estimates. This requires a two step process: judgements made by credible raters, and the transformation of judgements into one or more reliability co-efficients. These reliability estimates can then be utilized in the standard Bayesian model to yield plausible degrees of belief between hypothesis and evidence.

Journal

Quality & QuantitySpringer Journals

Published: Oct 16, 2004

References

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