Nonstandard Bayesianism: How Verisimilitude and Counterfactual Degrees of Belief Solve the Interpretive Problem in Bayesian Inference

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Vassend, Olav B.
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conference paper description
Scientists and Bayesian statisticians often study hypotheses that they know to be false. This creates an interpretive problem because the Bayesian probability of a hypothesis is typically interpreted as a degree of belief that the hypothesis is true. In this paper, I present and contrast two solutions to the interpretive problem, both of which involve reinterpreting the Bayesian framework in such a way that pragmatic factors directly determine in part how probability assignments are interpreted and whether a given probability assignment is rational. I argue that there is an important sense in which the two solutions are equivalent, and I suggest that the two reinterpretations can help us do Bayesian inference better. I also explore various features of the two reinterprations, including their relations to the standard Bayesian interpretation of probability and to the Law of Likelihood.