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A More Fulfilling (and Frustrating) Take on Reflexive Predictions

Matthew Kopec
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 78, No. 5 (December 2011), pp. 1249-1259
DOI: 10.1086/662266
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/662266
Page Count: 11
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A More Fulfilling (and Frustrating) Take on Reflexive Predictions
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Abstract

Even though social scientists continue to discuss the problems posed by self-fulfilling and self-frustrating predictions, philosophers of science have ignored the topic since the 1970s. Back then, the prevailing view was that the methodological problems posed by reflexive predictions are either minor or easily avoided. I believe that this consensus was premature, ultimately relying on an overly narrow understanding of the phenomenon. I present an improved way to understand reflexive predictions (framed in probabilistic terms) and show that, once such predictions are understood this way, the methodological problems they pose may turn out to be neither minor nor easily avoided.

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