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AIC Seminar Series

Comparative Probability, Comparative Confirmation, and the `Conjunction Fallacy’

Branden FitelsonUniversity of California, Berkeley[Home Page]

Notice:  hosted by Sugato Basu

Date:  2006-11-07 at 16:00

Location:  EJ228  (Directions)

   Abstract

The “conjunction fallacy” has been a key topic in discussions and debates on the quality of human reasoning performance and its limitations, yet the attempt of providing a satisfactory account of the phenomenon has proven challenging. Here, we propose a new analysis, suggesting that the fallacious probability judgments experimentally observed are typically guided by sound assessments of confirmation (or evidential support) relations. The proposed analysis is shown robust (i.e., not depending on various alternative ways of measuring degree of confirmation), consistent with available data, and prompting further empirical investigations. The present approach emphasizes the relevance of the notion of confirmation in the assessments of the relationships between the normative and descriptive study of inductive reasoning. All requisite historical, philosophical, and psychological background will be provided during the talk.

This is joint work with psychologists Vincenzo Crupi and Katya Tentori at the University of Trento.

   Bio for Branden Fitelson

Branden Fitelson gained his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. His research interests lie mainly in the philosophy of science, logic (including automated reasoning), and epistemology. His recent papers have focused largely on the role of probability in inductive logic and epistemology. He also has active interdisciplinary projects involving the psychology of probability and confirmation judgment and applications of automated reasoning to formal philosophy. He is currently working on a book on confirmation theory, which will trace both its historical and philosophical development.

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