A Utility Based Evaluation of Logico-probabilistic Systems

Abstract

Systems of logico-probabilistic (LP) reasoning characterize inference from conditional assertions interpreted as expressing high conditional probabilities. In the present article, we investigate four prominent LP systems (namely, systems O, P, Z, and QC) by means of computer simulations. The results reported here extend our previous work in this area, and evaluate the four systems in terms of the expected utility of the dispositions to act that derive from the conclusions that the systems license. In addition to conforming to the dominant paradigm for assessing the rationality of actions and decisions, our present evaluation complements our previous work, since our previous evaluation may have been too severe in its assessment of inferences to false and uninformative conclusions. In the end, our new results provide additional support for the conclusion that (of the four systems considered) inference by system Z offers the best balance of error avoidance and inferential power. Our new results also suggest that improved performance could be achieved by a modest strengthening of system Z.

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Correspondence to Paul D. Thorn.

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Thorn, P.D., Schurz, G. A Utility Based Evaluation of Logico-probabilistic Systems. Stud Logica 102, 867–890 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11225-013-9526-z

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Keywords

  • Probability logic
  • Ampliative inference
  • Scoring rules