Solomonoff Induction Violates Nicod’s Criterion

  • Jan Leike
  • Marcus Hutter
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9355)


Nicod’s criterion states that observing a black raven is evidence for the hypothesis H that all ravens are black. We show that Solomonoff induction does not satisfy Nicod’s criterion: there are time steps in which observing black ravens decreases the belief in H. Moreover, while observing any computable infinite string compatible with H, the belief in H decreases infinitely often when using the unnormalized Solomonoff prior, but only finitely often when using the normalized Solomonoff prior. We argue that the fault is not with Solomonoff induction; instead we should reject Nicod’s criterion.


Bayesian reasoning Confirmation Disconfirmation Hempel’s paradox Equivalence condition Solomonoff normalization 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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