Re: Bayesian epistemology versus Geddesian epistemology

From: Paul Fidika (
Date: Sun May 29 2005 - 09:26:44 MDT

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> Paul Fidika wrote:
> > Oh god no! Hopefully no one on this list wastes their time
> > doing such a thing! A word of advice: don't waste your time
> > with the "philosophy of science". (1) Bayes already presents a
> > solution to the "problem" of induction. (2) Bayes presents a
> > quantitative "Occam's Razor", obviating the need for determining
> > which hypothesis is simpler.
> Er, (1) isn't quite true. To get induction out of Bayes, you need Solomonoff
> induction, Minimum-Description-Length, or some other way of assigning prior
> probabilities that assigns lower probabilities to more complex hypotheses.

Hmm, I stand corrected.

> > The applied Bayesian-statistician daily makes use of these
> > solutions, while the philosophers will continue to argue about
> > these solved problems for decades to come.
> >
> > When you have the calculus of science, of what use is the
> > philosophy of it?
> The calculus of intelligence isn't finished. Don't judge the usefulness of
> philosophy by philosophers. Some are good, some are bad, and I'll be damned
> if I see how Jaynes could have written Probability Theory: The Logic of
> Science without a touch of philosophy here and there. The moral is: know ye
> the math, use ye the math, and complain ye not about the math until thou
> master it fully.

Bombast yes, philosophy no. I recall Jaynes (most deservedly) deriding
Popper and writing:

"Philosophers are free to do whatever they please, because they don't
have to do anything right."

I agree that there is of course much yet to be done and that Bayes does not in
itself present a complete solution, but I very much doubt that you'll
find any further help in the literature of philosophy.

~Paul Fidika

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