, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 301-310

On the axiomatic approach to the maximum entropy principle of inference

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Abstract

Recent axiomatic derivations of the maximum entropy principle from consistency conditions are critically examined. We show that proper application of consistency conditions alone allows a wider class of functionals, essentially of the form ∝ dx p(x)[p(x)/g(x)] s , for some real numbers, to be used for inductive inference and the commonly used form − ∝ dx p(x)ln[p(x)/g(x)] is only a particular case. The role of the prior densityg(x) is clarified. It is possible to regard it as a geometric factor, describing the coordinate system used and it does not represent information of the same kind as obtained by measurements on the system in the form of expectation values.