Re: poly: What probabilities?

From: Nick Bostrom <>
Date: Fri Apr 24 1998 - 18:07:50 PDT

Robin writes:

> Why can't there be several concepts of "probability" frequently
> denoted by the same word? I personally find the word's context of use
> to be typically enough to sufficiently disambiguiate which meaning
> the speaker had in mind.

My point was that in the particular case consisting of our
discussions about future events, the context often fails to
disambiguate the term 'probability'. For example, a typical case is
when McCluskey writes:

"Here's a scenario which I would guess has a 0.1 to 10% chance of
 happening: 1) a self-replicating molecular assembler becomes able to

I am not sure how I am supposed to understand the probability
assertion he makes. It's not just a philosophical quibble, but a
genuine difficulty I have in determining which sense of 'probability'
he is using.

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
London School of Economics
Received on Sat Apr 25 00:13:55 1998

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