The enduring allure of objective probability

The enduring allure of objective probability Probability measures are properly considered subjective, if only as a result of the knowledge limitations of human experience. Even if objective probability can be demonstrated as an unambiguously verifiable property of the physical world, our necessarily imperfect access to such aspects of reality would necessitate the construction of subjective probability measures for examinations of human behavior. This paper will explore the distinction between subjective and purportedly objective probability in principle, and demonstrate that actual probabilities can only be subjective, at least ex ante. The paper will next examine the persistent efforts of philosophers, mathematicians, and particularly quantitatively-inclined social scientists, to construct and employ mistaken conceptions of purportedly objective probability. The neo-indeterminist interpretation of sub-atomic particle physics is addressed next, with its attempt to construct an objective-probabilistic account of reality based on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. An explanation is suggested for the persistent allure of objective probability in the social sciences, which purports to offer a more economical and parsimonious basis for human behavior and the formation of expectations. The view that there are ontologically privileged, objectively-verifiable probabilities and expectations, will be examined and criticized. It appears to be one source of the discredited, though nonetheless widespread and persistent, belief in the efficacy and feasibility of central economic planning. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Review of Austrian Economics Springer Journals

The enduring allure of objective probability

Loading next page...
 
/lp/springer_journal/the-enduring-allure-of-objective-probability-8XbeNyJH8Z
Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Economics / Management Science; Public Finance & Economics; Political Science, general; Methodology and the History of Economic Thought
ISSN
0889-3047
eISSN
1573-7128
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11138-012-0189-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Probability measures are properly considered subjective, if only as a result of the knowledge limitations of human experience. Even if objective probability can be demonstrated as an unambiguously verifiable property of the physical world, our necessarily imperfect access to such aspects of reality would necessitate the construction of subjective probability measures for examinations of human behavior. This paper will explore the distinction between subjective and purportedly objective probability in principle, and demonstrate that actual probabilities can only be subjective, at least ex ante. The paper will next examine the persistent efforts of philosophers, mathematicians, and particularly quantitatively-inclined social scientists, to construct and employ mistaken conceptions of purportedly objective probability. The neo-indeterminist interpretation of sub-atomic particle physics is addressed next, with its attempt to construct an objective-probabilistic account of reality based on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. An explanation is suggested for the persistent allure of objective probability in the social sciences, which purports to offer a more economical and parsimonious basis for human behavior and the formation of expectations. The view that there are ontologically privileged, objectively-verifiable probabilities and expectations, will be examined and criticized. It appears to be one source of the discredited, though nonetheless widespread and persistent, belief in the efficacy and feasibility of central economic planning.

Journal

The Review of Austrian EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 12, 2012

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off