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  Topic: Uncommonly Dense Thread 3, The Beast Marches On...< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
keiths



Posts: 2040
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 19 2009,00:57   

Quote (Missing Shade of Blue @ Oct. 18 2009,22:31)
The dissertation is nearing completion, thank god. Hopefully just another few months, and I'll be the proud (and probably unemployed) holder of a doctoral degree.

Good luck!

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I mostly agree with what you're saying here, Keith. The example I gave was merely in response to your claim that it is absurd to think that an instance of a hypothesis does not in general confirm the hypothesis. Under certain auxiliary assumptions, an instance can disconfirm the generalization.

If Jaynes was simply claiming that it is not universally true that an instance of a hypothesis strengthens the hypothesis, then I agree and I withdraw my criticism.

I had interpreted Raevmo's statement of Jaynes' position as meaning that "it's generally not true that an instance of a hypothesis supports the hypothesis", that is, not true most of the time.  It is that perceived claim that I was disagreeing with when I wrote:
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Does Jaynes really think that observing one hard diamond after another doesn't strengthen the hypothesis that all diamonds are hard?

In our world, such observations do strengthen the hypothesis.  I apologize to Jaynes if I misinterpreted Raevmo's statement.

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And you're right, I shouldn't have said the sampling procedure has to be completely random. But there are constraints on sampling, and this is partly what I meant by auxiliary assumptions being essential. Here's another example: Suppose my lab assistant is collecting samples for me, and I know she's a bit scientifically dishonest. She will never collect a sample which falsifies the hypothesis. Out of all the samples that don't falsify the hypothesis she picks randomly. Suppose she goes into a room that I know contains a million ravens and two bananas, in order to pick a sample for me. She comes out carrying a yellow banana. Given my auxiliary assumptions about her sampling procedure, I should actually drastically reduce my credence in the hypothesis. She probably would not have brought me a banana unless almost all the ravens in the room were not black. So yeah, while the assumption of random sampling is unnecessarily, some constraint on sampling is necessary in order for any evidence to count as genuinely confirmatory.

I agree. That's why I specified the following in my reply to Erasmus above:
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2. Nothing (including our own behavior) is systematically preventing such valid falsifying observations from taking place.

The case of the dishonest lab assistant clearly violates this stipulation.

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And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number. †-- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that donít belong there and thoughts into my mind that donít belong there. -- KF

  
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