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by Nick Bostrom

Download Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy (Studies in Philosophy) ePub
  • ISBN 0415883946
  • ISBN13 978-0415883948
  • Language English
  • Author Nick Bostrom
  • Publisher Routledge; 1 edition (June 20, 2010)
  • Pages 244
  • Formats mobi lit rtf azw
  • Category Different
  • Subcategory Humanities
  • Size ePub 1278 kb
  • Size Fb2 1936 kb
  • Rating: 4.2
  • Votes: 455

Anthropic Bias explores how to reason when you suspect that your evidence is biased by "observation selection effects"--that is, evidence that has been filtered by the precondition that there be some suitably positioned observer to "have" the evidence. This conundrum--sometimes alluded to as "the anthropic principle," "self-locating belief," or "indexical information"--turns out to be a surprisingly perplexing and intellectually stimulating challenge, one abounding with important implications for many areas in science and philosophy.

There are the philosophical thought experiments and paradoxes: the Doomsday Argument; Sleeping Beauty; the Presumptuous Philosopher; Adam & Eve; the Absent-Minded Driver; the Shooting Room.

And there are the applications in contemporary science: cosmology ("How many universes are there?", "Why does the universe appear fine-tuned for life?"); evolutionary theory ("How improbable was the evolution of intelligent life on our planet?"); the problem of time's arrow ("Can it be given a thermodynamic explanation?"); quantum physics ("How can the many-worlds theory be tested?"); game-theory problems with imperfect recall ("How to model them?"); even traffic analysis ("Why is the 'next lane' faster?").

Anthropic Bias argues that the same principles are at work across all these domains. And it offers a synthesis: a mathematically explicit theory of observation selection effects that attempts to meet scientific needs while steering clear of philosophical paradox.


Since observation selection effects apply to all observations, I thought it was surprising not to have more everyday examples from practical fields - such as medicine and ecology. The author recognizes that the term "anthropic" is terrible, but he nonetheless puts it in the title of the book.

Since observation selection effects apply to all observations, I thought it was surprising not to have more everyday examples from practical fields - such as medicine and ecology. That seems rather disappointing to me. Overall, while it is great to have a new book about observation selection effects, I felt that there was too much reinventing of the wheel going on here. is a rechristened and cut-down version of the maximum entropy principle.

PDF On Dec 1, 2003, Milan M. Ćirković and others published Nick Bostrom, Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects . September 2005 · Studies In History and Philosophy of Science Part B Studies In History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.

September 2005 · Studies In History and Philosophy of Science Part B Studies In History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Efiects in Science and Philosophy.

Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy (2002) is a book by philosopher Nick Bostrom

Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy (2002) is a book by philosopher Nick Bostrom. This conundrum is sometimes hinted at as "the anthropic principle," "self-locating belief," or "indexical information".

Bostrom, Nick, 1973– (Studies in philosophy). Includes bibliographical references and index.

Bostrom, Nick, 1973–. Anthropic bias : observation selection effects in science and philosophy, by. Nick Bostrom. p. cm. - (Studies in philosophy). This book explores how to reason when you suspect that your evidence is biased by observation selection effects. An explanation of what observation selection effects are has to await chapter 1. Suffice it to say here that the topic is intellectually fun, difficult, and important. We will be discussing many interesting applications.

This conundrum-sometimes alluded to as "the anthropic principle," "self-locating belief," or "indexical information"-turns out to be a surprisingly perplexing and intellectually stimulating challenge, one abounding with important implications for many areas in science and philosophy.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Start by marking Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy (Studies in Philosophy). Download (pdf, . 6 Mb) Donate Read. Epub FB2 mobi txt RTF. Converted file can differ from the original. If possible, download the file in its original format.

Items related to Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science. Nick Bostrom is Swedish-born philosopher and polymath with a background in theoretical physics, computational neuroscience, logic, and artificial intelligence, as well as philosophy

Items related to Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science. Bostrom, Nick Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy (Studies in Philosophy). ISBN 13: 9780415938587. Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy (Studies in Philosophy). Nick Bostrom is Swedish-born philosopher and polymath with a background in theoretical physics, computational neuroscience, logic, and artificial intelligence, as well as philosophy. He is Professor at Oxford University, where he leads the Future of Humanity Institute as its founding director.

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oceedings{BO, title {Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy}, author {Nick Bostrom}, year {2002} }. Preface Content Acknowledgements Chapter1: Introduction Observation selection effects A brief history of anthropic reasoning Synopsis of this book Chapter 2: Fine- Tuning Arguments in Cosmology Does fine-tuning need explaining?

Talk about Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy (Studies in Philosophy)


Umor
This is a deeply considered discussion of selection theory, which I found helpful, but which I could not always follow. To best appreciate this tome, I recommend having a working knowledge of Bayes Theorem. Dr. Bostrom does his best to explain, but a master's degree in the philosophy of mathematics would be helpful here.
Arryar
I purchased this with the thought that it would be a great resource for an extended essay concerning selection bias and the nature of both science and philosophy. I was thoroughly disappointed.
Bostrom attempts to demonstrate the invalidity of a multitude of both uses and interpretations of the Anthropic Principle, generally claiming that whomever he is currently proving wrong is incorrect because he (Bostrom) is going to define the words they used differently. In other cases his examples simply make no sense (it is obviously reasonable to assume that actually drawing the shortest straw from a stack of 1,048,576 is due to chance, and not due to rigging of the system).
He seems to have a general lack of actual understanding of the physics he is dealing with, a view easily obtained with but a little background research. The language he employs is overly superfluous (just as that was), and at times he sounds like a preppy school boy showing off the language he just learned for the SAT.
I will admit that Bostrom had some valid points, but the style of writing and his obvious bias (ironically favoring a multitude of authors (Leslie, van Inwagen, etc.)) made it exceedingly difficult for me to read the book in its entirety, resulting in a very premature abortion of the reading.
I believe Bostrom's book is a great example of the effects of selection bias, demonstrating the irrationality that it can lead to and its ability to corrupt even those who are purportedly well-versed in it, and would recommend reading it only to see this phenomena.
Dikus
This is the second book on observation selection effects I have read. The first was Barrow and Tipler's book on the topic. The good news is that this book is better than Barrow and Tipler's book was. On the positive side, the book embraces and uses Bayesian statistics, which helps to clarify many of its examples. It is a good example of how to use mathematics helpfully in a popular science book. The book is easy to read and clearly presented. However, I felt that it failed to take some important steps.

The history of the idea of observation selection seems like a bit of a scientific embarrassment. To clarify the field, I think there are some inter-disciplinary links that need to be made. We already have a fairly mature and well-established science of selection - in the form of evolutionary theory. Observation selection is special a case of selection - and so needs to be married with evolutionary theory. Similarly, "survival of the fittest" is a special case of the more general principle of "observation of the observable". Both produce cases of adaptive fitness - goodness of fit between organisms and their environment.

Another relevant link is the maximum entropy principle - which is part of Bayesian statistics. This book presents what it calls the "Self-Sampling Assumption" (S.S.A.) - the idea being that:

"All other things equal, an observer should reason as if they are randomly selected from the set of all actually existent observers (past, present and future) in their reference class."

The "Self-Sampling Assumption" represents the maximum entropy principle applied to observers - in the special case where nothing is known about which member of a set of observers is involved.

The maximum entropy principle neatly covers this case. It also deals with other cases where additional information is available. It also deals with uncertainty concerning other entities besides observers. It is a very general statistical principle.

Rather frustratingly, the book fails to make either link. It argues for the broad applicability of the S.S.A. to scientific topics. However science already has an older, and more broadly-applicable framework which covers this topic - namely the maximum entropy principle. It seems hard to make a case for giving a very limited subset of this principle such a grandiose name.

Another strange thing about the book is its choice of examples. There seemed to be a big emphasis on cosmology and doomsday. I understand these are areas of personal interest to the author - and reflect the history of the topic. While interesting, these examples seem kind-of remote from everyday experience, and are often challenging to understand and test. Since observation selection effects apply to all observations, I thought it was surprising not to have more everyday examples from practical fields - such as medicine and ecology.

The author recognizes that the term "anthropic" is terrible, but he nonetheless puts it in the title of the book. That seems rather disappointing to me.

Overall, while it is great to have a new book about observation selection effects, I felt that there was too much reinventing of the wheel going on here. The S.S.A. is a rechristened and cut-down version of the maximum entropy principle. Since it seems so inferior to the common wisdom in the field, it doesn't seem to deserve the positive treatment it receives in this book.
Malak
This book discusses selection effects as they affect reasoning on topics such as the Doomsday Argument, whether you will choose a lane of traffic that is slower than average, and whether we can get evidence for or against the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics. Along the way it poses some unusual thought experiments that at first glance seem to prove some absurd conclusions. It then points out the questionable assumptions about what constitute "similar observers" upon which the absurd conclusions depend, and in doing so it convinced me that the Doomsday Argument is weaker than I had previously thought.

It says some interesting things about the implications of a spatially infinite universe, and of the possibility that the number of humans will be infinite.

It is not easy to read, but there's little reason to expect a book on this subject could be both easy to read and correct.
Still In Mind
I'd like to purchase this book for Kindle, Nick, but it is ridiculously expensive. Kindle books should be less than $9.99. I bought your 'Superintelligence' and enjoyed it.