(2007) Synthese 157 (2).


strengthening the Bayesian requirements

Ken Gemes

Bayesians standardly identify irrelevance with probabilistic irrelevance. However, there are cases where e is probabilistically irrelevant to h but intuitively e is relevant to h. For instance, ‘Die A came up 1 and die B came up 1, 3, 5 or 6’ is probabilistically irrelevant to ‘Die A came up odd and die B came up even’, yet, intuitively, it is not, irrelevant to that claim, in the sense that ‘Sydney has a harbour Bridge’ is irrelevant to it. In the context of decision making this notion of irrelevance combined with such rules as ‘Do not expend resources on irrelevant evidence’ leads to bad results. A stronger notion of irrelevance fitting our intuitions and the contexts of decision making is proposed: e is irrelevant to h if and only if every part of e is probabilistically irrelevant to every part of h. However, we need to take care in determining what counts as part of a statement.

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Full citation:

Gemes, K. (2007). Irrelevance: strengthening the Bayesian requirements. Synthese 157 (2), pp. -.

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