Philosophical Studies

, Volume 176, Issue 1, pp 175–195 | Cite as

Counting experiments

  • Jonathan LivengoodEmail author


In this paper, I show how one might resist two influential arguments for the Likelihood Principle by appealing to the ontological significance of creative intentions. The first argument for the Likelihood Principle that I consider is the argument from intentions. After clarifying the argument, I show how the key premiss in the argument may be resisted by maintaining that creative intentions sometimes independently matter to what experiments exist. The second argument that I consider is Gandenberger’s (Br J Philos Sci 66(3):475–503, 2015) rehabilitation of Birnbaum’s (J Am Stat Assoc 57(298):269–306, 1962) proof of the Likelihood Principle from the (supposedly) more intuitively obvious principles of conditionality and sufficiency. As with the argument from intentions, I show how Gandenberger’s argument for his Experimental Conditionality Principle may be resisted by maintaining that creative intentions sometimes independently matter to what experiments exist.


Likelihood Principle Analytic metaphysics Experiments Evidential value Creative intentions Artifacts Abstract creationism Conditionality principle Arbitrariness 



Thanks to Sam Fletcher, Konstantin Genin, Daniel Malinsky, Conor Mayo-Wilson, Greg Gandenberger, Noel Saenz, Jonah Schupbach, and Kristin Seemuth-Whaley for comments on earlier drafts. Special thanks to Dan Korman for reading and criticizing multiple drafts, for helping me refine the arguments, and for motivating the project with his own excellent work.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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