Advertisement

Erkenntnis

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 93–108 | Cite as

Observer-Relative Chances In Anthropic Reasoning?

  • Nick Bostrom
Article

Abstract

John Leslie presents a thought experiment to show that chances are sometimes observer-relative in a paradoxical way. The pivotal assumption in his argument – a version of the weak anthropic principle – is the same as the one used to get the disturbing Doomsday argument off the ground. I show that Leslie's thought experiment trades on the sense/reference ambiguity and is fallacious. I then describe a related case where chances are observer-relative in an interesting way. But not in a paradoxical way. The result can be generalized: At least for a very wide range of cases, the weak anthropic principle does not giverise to paradoxical observer-relative chances. This finding could be taken to give new indirect support to the doomsday argument.

Keywords

Thought Experiment Related Case Indirect Support Anthropic Principle Experiment Trade 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Barrow, J. D. and F. J. Tipler: 1986, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  2. Bostrom, N.: 1999, 'The Doomsday Argument is Alive and Kicking', Mind 108, 539-50.Google Scholar
  3. Carter, B.: 1993, 'The Anthropic Selection Principle and the Ultra-Darwinian Evolution', in F. Bertola and U. Curi (eds.), The Anthropic Principle, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 38-63.Google Scholar
  4. Jarman, E.: 1987, 'The SAP Also Rises: A Critical Examination of the Anthropic Principle', Am. Phil. Quart. 24(4), 307-317.Google Scholar
  5. Eckhardt, W.: 1992, 'A Shooting-Room View of Doomsday', Journal of Philosophy 44(5), 248.Google Scholar
  6. Korb, K. and Oliver, J.: 1999, 'A Refutation of the Doomsday Argument', Mind 107, 403-10.Google Scholar
  7. Leslie, J.: 1997, 'Observer-Relative Chances and the Doomsday Argument', Inquiry 40, 427-436.Google Scholar
  8. Leslie, J.: 1996, The End of the World, The Ethics and Science of Human Extinction, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  9. Leslie, J.: 1993, 'Doom and Probabilities', Mind 102(407), 489-491.Google Scholar
  10. Leslie, J.: 1992, 'Doomsday Revisited', Phil. Quart. 42(166), 85-87.Google Scholar
  11. Leslie, J.: 1989, Universes, Routledge, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nick Bostrom
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy Logic and Scientific MethodLondon School of EconomicsLondonU.K.

Personalised recommendations