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Causality and the Doomsday Argument

Phillips, Ivan (2005) Causality and the Doomsday Argument. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Using the Autodialer thought experiment, we show that the Self-Sampling Assumption (SSA) is too general, and propose a revision to the assumption that limits its applicability to causally-independent observers. Under the revised assumption, the Doomsday Argument fails, and the paradoxes associated with the standard SSA are dispelled. We also consider the effects of the revised sampling assumption on tests of cosmological theories. There we find that, while we must restrict our attention to universes containing at least one observer, the total number of observers predicted in each universe is irrelevant to the confirmation of a theory.

Item Type:Preprint
Keywords:doomsday argument, self-sampling assumption, causality, bayes' theorem, cosmology, anthropic principle
Subjects:Philosophy > Philosophy of Science
ID Code:4045
Deposited By:Phillips, Ivan
Deposited On:01 Feb 2005
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

References in Article

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Bostrom, N. (1997) Investigations into the Doomsday argument, Preprint at http://www.anthropicprinciple.com/preprints/inv/investigations.html

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Bostrom, N. (2001). The Doomsday Argument, Adam & Eve, UN++, and Quantum Joe, Preprint, Synthese, Vol. 127, Issue 3.

Bostrom, N. (2002) Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy, New York, Routledge

Bostrom, N. (2002B) Beyond the Doomsday Argument: Reply to Sowers and Further Remarks, http://www.anthropic-principle.com/preprints/sowers/beyond.pdf

Franceschi, Paul (2003) A Third Route to the Doomsday Argument, http://cogprints.org/2990/

Leslie, J. (1989) Risking the World’s End, Bulletin of the Canadian Nuclear Society, May 10-15.

Leslie, J. (1996) The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction. New York, Routledge.

Sowers Jr., G. F. (2002). The Demise of the Doomsday Argument. Mind 111(441): 37-46.

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