[extropy-chat] Coin Flip Paradox

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Wed Jan 31 19:57:06 UTC 2007

gts wrote:

> Jef, I promised yesterday to answer in more detail a post of yours
> which
> you wrote in reply to my post about the problem in decision theory.
> Your
> message is interesting but you did not actually answer mine
> directly,
> except with your usual argument about context.
> You wrote:
> > Gordon, principles cannot "fail miserably".  People can fail
> miserably
> > when they try to apply principles out of context.
> But otherwise you wrote nothing more about the problem.
> You seem to claiming here that the decision theorist who wrote that
> text
> on decision theory was somehow wrong in his application or
> misapplication
> of the principle of indifference, but yet you did not tell me why
> or how
> he should have proceeded.
> Will you please address the problem directly? Why do you think this
> decision theorist was wrong to warn his readers to stay clear of
> the
> principle of indifference? In what way did he "apply principle out
> of
> context"?
> Why was he wrong to conclude that in a life or death situation, the
> principle could lead to disaster?

No, of course it can lead to disaster.

He wasn't wrong.  You were.  He knew what he intended.  You didn't.
Again, this illustrates the importance of arguing from *your own* point
of view.

Gordon, it appears that as an instuctor, Michael Resnik had constructed
a strawman with the Principle of Insufficient Reason along the way to
demonstrating that no method, including the PI, is capable of providing
good priors under conditions of ignorance.  The best you can do it
assign equal probabilities, which can't be considered "good" since it is
absolutely neutral.

The instructor was emphasizing the importance of obtaining better

- Jef 

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