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Predictive Probability and Analogy by Similarity in Inductive Logic

Maria Concetta di Maio
Erkenntnis (1975-)
Vol. 43, No. 3, Varia with a Workshop on the Foundations of Partial Functions and Programming (Nov., 1995), pp. 369-394
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20012663
Page Count: 26
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Predictive Probability and Analogy by Similarity in Inductive Logic
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Abstract

The λ-continuum of inductive methods was derived from an assumption, called λ-condition, which says that the probability of finding an individual having property $x_{j}$ depends only on the number of observed individuals having property $x_{j}$ and on the total number of observed individuals. So, according to that assumption, all individuals with properties which are different from $x_{j}$ have equal weight with respect to that probability and, in particular, it does not matter whether any individual was observed having some property similar to $x_{j}$ (the most complete proof of this result is presented in Carnap, 1980). The problem thus remained open to find some general condition, weaker than the λ-condition, which would allow for the derivation of probability functions which might be sensitive to similarity. Carnap himself suggested a weakening of the λ-condition which might allow for similarity sensitive probability functions (Carnap, 1980, p. 45) but he did not find the family of probability functions derivable from that principle. The aim of this paper is to present the family of probability functions derivable from Carnap's suggestion and to show how it is derived. In Section 1 the general problem of analogy by similarity in inductive logic is presented, Section 2 outlines the notation and the conceptual background involved in the proof, Section 3 gives the proof, Section 4 discusses Carnap's principle and the result, Section 5 is a brief review of the solutions which have previously been proposed.

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