The Foundations of Conditional Probability


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Logic and the Methodology of Science


This project examines, in both formal and informal terms, the relation between the concepts of conditional and unconditional probability. The notion of probability under consideration here is subjective probability, an account of partial belief widely used in philosophy, psychology, and economics. Traditionally, conditional probability is analyzed in terms of unconditional. Recently, several philosophers have argued that the order of analysis should be reversed, because of problems of probability 0, and vague probability. After considering the different accounts available in these cases, this dissertation argues that one in particular is the correct one, and that it does not support this reversal of analysis. In addition, it suggests that conditional probability exists only in a relative sense, not absolutely.