# Re: poly: What probabilities?

From: Hal Finney <hal@rain.org>
Date: Mon Apr 27 1998 - 09:34:29 PDT

Peter C. McCluskey, <pcm@rahul.net>, writes:
> Here's a scenario which I would guess has a 0.1 to 10% chance of happening:

I wonder if you could describe your thinking in choosing to express this
as a range of probabilities. Is it, as Robin and Nick have suggested, that
you could theoretically pin it down more closely if you thought about it
longer? But based on how much time you have spent thinking about it, all
you can say now is that eventually you would have settled on a probability
in this range?

Can you express in probabilitistic terms how likely it is that the
probability is in the range from .1% to 10%? More, could you estimate
how likely it is that the probability is in the range from say 2% to 6%?
And even more generally, could you give the shape of your belief function
in terms of a probability distribution over the possible probabilities?

I am trying to get a better understanding of what people mean when they
use probability ranges. We are already dealing with an uncertain event.
But apparently for you simply to say that the probability was, say, 1%,
would have seemed too precise. Even though this estimate is consistent
with either of the two possible alternative outcomes, and indicates that
one is far more likely than the other, it does not express what is in
your mind. I am curious to know how you view the meaning of a probability
range like this one.

Thanks,
Hal
Received on Mon Apr 27 16:37:35 1998

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