May 1, 2023

Entropy and Subjectivism

Anubav Vasudevan, Chicago

Abstract: Shafer (1985) issued a stark warning to subjective Bayesians against the dangers of unqualified appeals to the rule of conditionalization outside the context of a well-defined information protocol. In this talk, I will explain how the failure to heed Shafer’s warning has led to equally unjustified appeals to other, more general rules for probabilistic updating – in particular, the rule of relative entropy maximization. I will explain how certain puzzles related to maximum entropy reasoning – such as Shimony’s puzzle and the Judy Benjamin Problem – can be viewed as generalized versions of the problems facing conditionalization that prompted Shafer’s initial critique. I will conclude the talk by extracting from these examples some general philosophical lessons relating to subjective interpretations of probability.