(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Is there such a thing as "Objective Probability"?

IMHO, no.

I am no mathematician, I am in awe of the mathematical prowess manifested by all the contributors to this forum, but I do make my living by assessing probabilities (intuitively), and thankfully I am able to make the correct decisions most of the time.

It has always seemed to me that it is fallacious to talk about the "probability of an event happening", what we should say is "the probability of me being correct if I forecast the outcome of the event to be such-and-such". Which would of course be much too long-winded.

Nonetheless, it is my contention thatprobability is not a property of the event itself, it is a function of the information which we possess about the event.

For example, if we knew the exact state of our Newtonian universe at any given moment in time, there would be no probability involved in a coin toss, the outcome would be a foregone certainty. Our assessment of 50% probability is a reflection of our lack of information, and is not an intrinsic property of the event itself.

I can see heads shaking all around me at this point, but let us move on to another type of event, where the probabilities are not quite so clear-cut.

In a horse race, probabilities are estimated by bookmakers (and, on Betfair, both by punters and layers.) Now, there seems to be a widespread view that there exists a "true" probability for each horse to win.

IMHO that is nonsense.

To talk of "the probability of the horse winning " is fallacious. A professional punter, armed with years of experience, will predict the winner of a 10 horse race maybe once in every 4 races. A once a year racecourse visitor, who knows nothing about racing, but makes their selection at random, will select the winner once in every 10 races.

So, if it is fallacious to talk about the probability of a horse winning, it is equally fallacious to talk about the probability of any other event happening. As I said earlier, the correct approach is to say "What is the probabilty of me being correct if I forecast the outcome of this event to be such-and-such".

All of which is of no practical use, I agree, but I just thought it might be fruitful to drop a (hopefully) philosophical offering into the mathematical pool ...

**Physics Forums - The Fusion of Science and Community**

Dismiss Notice

Join Physics Forums Today!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

# Is there such a thing as Objective Probability ?

Loading...

Similar Threads - such thing Objective | Date |
---|---|

Things that need scientific names | Sep 17, 2017 |

Strangest thing you have read in a textbook | Sep 3, 2017 |

Do things enjoyed earlier have more utility? | May 1, 2017 |

Is objective view of things possible? | May 24, 2004 |

**Physics Forums - The Fusion of Science and Community**