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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 Problem for a Polycriterial Theory of Probability

The Problem for a Polycriterial Theory of Probability

1 The Problem for a Polycriterial Theory of Probability
The Probable and The Provable

L. Jonathan Cohen

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the problem for a polycriterial theory of probability. Recent philosophical theories about probability have tended to be polycriterial rather than monocriterial. The identification of mathematical structure does not suffice to explain why such-and-such criteria are all criteria of probability. Nor can a family-resemblance theory explain this (or any other) conceptual unity. The chapter also discusses the mathematicist theory. A formal axiomatization of probability is in principle open to non-standard interpretations. It then evaluates family-resemblance theory. The family-resemblance account imposes an all-too-familiar kind of gloss on the data, but cannot be relied on to lead to anything new.

Keywords:   polycriterial theory, probability, mathematicist theory, family-resemblance theory, mathematical structure, formal axiomatization

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