A group of philosophers led by the late John Pollock has applied a method of reasoning about probability, known as direct inference and governed by a constraint known as Reichenbach's principle, to argue in support of 'thirdism' concerning the Sleeping Beauty Problem. A subsequent debate has ensued about whether their argument constitutes a legitimate application of direct inference. Here I defend the argument against two extant objections charging illegitimacy. One objection can be overcome via a natural and plausible definition, given here, of the binary relation 'logically stronger than' between two properties that can obtain even when the respective properties differ from one another in 'arity'; given this definition, the Pollock group's argument conforms to Reichenbach's principle. Another objection prompts a certain refinement of Reichenbach's principle that is independently well-motivated. My defense of the Pollock group's argument has epistemological import beyond the Sleeping Beauty problem, because it both widens and sharpens the applicability of direct inference as a method for inferring single-case epistemic probabilities on the basis of general information of a probabilistic or statistical nature.
- Reichenbach's principle
- Sleeping Beauty
- direct inference
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- History and Philosophy of Science