[extropy-chat] Coin Flip Paradox

gts gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 31 16:03:35 UTC 2007

On Wed, 31 Jan 2007 10:32:48 -0500, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com>  

> So are you saying that I should inspect the coin to determine that it
> is fair?...

Yes, but I wouldn't get too hung up about the coin in my story. It's just  
a convenient prop for the sake of illustration, and maybe not the best  
prop at that.

The point is that the principle of indifference gives one the permission  
to assign imaginary probabilities to events when one is actually in a  
state of total and complete ignorance about the true probabilities of  
those events. Is that logical? I don't think so.

As I wrote yesterday, the "principle" is in my opinion not really a  
logical principle at all. It is rather a wild-assed conjecture made in the  
face of complete ignorance about the true state of nature. Granted this  
wild-assed conjecture is less wild than some alternatives one could make  
in ignorance, (if one is going to make this unjustified logical leap then  
it certainly makes sense to assign the probabilities equally rather than  
unequally), but it's a wild-eyed conjecture nonetheless.


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