Working Paper

Apparent Intuitions About Coin Tosses A Response To Maher And Lange

Working Paper

Apparent Intuitions About Coin Tosses A Response To Maher And Lange

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Abstract

Maher (1988) and Lange (2001) appeal to intuitions about coin tosses to discern the justification of predictivism about the predictive accuracy of hypotheses. I point out two problems about their use of the coin flipping cases for this purpose. First, the questions that Maher and Lange seem to want to answer are empirical: What do people think about these coin toss cases? Why? A satisfying answer to each empirical question would require rigorous empirical investigation. Neither Maher’s nor Lange’s investigation of the coin cases achieve such rigor. Second, even if Maher and Lange did conduct the kind of investigation that is becoming of their empirical questions, it is not clear that the conclusions of such investigation would bear on the justification of the predictivist thesis. So neither Maher or Lange's coin tossing thought experiments — nor their inferences therefrom — can provide substantial support for their hypothesis.

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Chapter
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