Plausible Reasoning and Probability

I’ve been diving deeply into an exploration of Jaynes and Polya’s exposition of probability as plausible reasoning. It appears to be at the core of how our brains model the mathematics of probability, which Polya calls “the long range frequencies of mass phenomena”. To us, this process of induction by which we understand the world is “plausible reasoning” where we evaluate conjectures of all types and assign them credibility in between absolute truth and falsehood.

It’s been fruitful but a long project that’s taken up the time I have for this particular project of Deciding Better. But it was where, in my book manuscript, I felt I was not doing justice to the link between probability theory and human judgment.

I’m coming to the end of the process of summarizing my detailed notes on the Polya books. Next I’d like to revisit some of the fundamental neuroscience of decisions and be sure that I have that solidly grounding in this idea of probability as plausible reasoning.

I know I’m getting toward the end of this deep dive because other areas are grabbing my attention, since recent events in the world have me think once again about the ecology that is created by an individual both living within and shaping their information environment. The stir created by Bob Sapolsky’s new book denying the existence of free will. We’re about the same age and we had some good conversations back in the day, but he’s a way more interesting character than I’ll ever be.

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