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Subjective Probability as Sampling Propensity

Thomas Icard
Review of Philosophy and Psychology

Abstract: Subjective probability plays an increasingly important role in many fields concerned with human cognition and behavior. Yet there have been significant criticisms of the idea that probabilities could actually be represented in the mind. This paper presents and elaborates a view of subjective probability as a kind of sampling propensity associated with internally represented generative models. The resulting view answers to some of the most well known criticisms of subjective probability, and is also supported by empirical work in neuroscience and behavioral psychology. The repercussions of the view for how we conceive of many ordinary instances of subjective probability, and how it relates to more traditional conceptions of subjective probability, are discussed in some detail.