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New aspects of the probabilistic evaluation of hypotheses and experience

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The probabilistic corroboration of two or more hypotheses or series of observations may be performed additively or multiplicatively . For additive corroboration (e.g. by Laplace's rule of succession), stochastic independence is needed. Inferences, based on overwhelming numbers of observations without unexplained counterinstances permit hyperinduction , whereby extremely high probabilities, bordering on certainty for all practical purposes may be achieved. For multiplicative corroboration, the error probabilities (1 - Pr) of two (or more) hypotheses are multiplied. The probabilities, obtained by reconverting the product, are valid for both of the hypotheses and indicate the gain by corroboration.. This method is mathematically correct, no probabilities > 1 can result (as in some conventional methods) and high probabilities with fewer observations may be obtained, however, semantical independence is a prerequisite. The combined method consists of (1) the additive computation of the error probabilities (1 - Pr) of two or more single hypotheses, whereby arbitrariness is avoided or at least reduced and (2) the multiplicative procedure . The high reliability of Empirical Counterfactual Statements is explained by the possibility of multiplicative corroboration of “all-no” statements due to their strict semantical independence.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Kirchengasse 28, A-1070 Vienna, Austria

Publication date: July 1, 2000

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