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The Probable and The Provable$
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L. Jonathan Cohen

Print publication date: 1977

Print ISBN-13: 9780198244127

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198244127.001.0001

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The Grading of Inductive Probability

The Grading of Inductive Probability

(p.199) 16 The Grading of Inductive Probability
The Probable and The Provable

L. Jonathan Cohen

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the grading of inductive probability. It first evaluates the relation between inductive support and inductive probability. In the assessment of an inductive probability, favourable and unfavourable circumstances may be balanced off against one another. A tree-structure simile is available. Uncounteracted favourable evidence raises the inductive probability of a proposition, but uncounteracted unfavourable evidence reduces it to zero — which is not at all the same as making the proposition's negation certain. A statement of the inductive probability of S on R may be construed as grading the informativeness (what Keynes called the weight) of R in favour of S. If R states all the relevant evidence known and the inductive probability of S on R is high enough, it may be reasonable to believe that S is true, but one cannot detach here a monadic, unconditional grading for the inductive probability of S.

Keywords:   inductive probability, inductive support, grading, tree-structure simile, informativeness

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