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Hello, is it you I'm looking for?

by Knuckels McGinty 1 min read28th Jan 202015 comments



Sorry if diving in with my question is a breach of your etiquette, but I have a kind of burning question I was hoping some of you guys could help me with. I've been reading the core texts and clicking around but can't quite figure out if this has been covered before.

Does anyone know of any previous attempts at building a model of ranking the quality of statements? By which I mean ranking things like epistemic claims, claims about causation and that kind of thing. Something that aims to distill the complexity of the degrees of certainty and doubt we should have into something simple like a number? Really importantly, I mean something that would be universally applicable, objective (or something like it) not just based on an estimate of one's own subjective certainty (my understanding of Bayesian reasoning and Alvin Goldman style social epistemology).

I've been working on something like that for a couple of years as a kind of hobby . I've read a lot of things on subjects that are adjacent (probability, epistemology, social psychology) but never found anything that seems like an attempt to do that.

I think that means I'm either a unique genius, a crazy person or bad at describing/ searching for what I'm looking for. Option 1 seems unlikely, option 2 is definitely possible but I suspect that option 3 is the real one. Does anyone know of any work in this area they can point me towards?

Cheers - M

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I'm not sure this is an exact match to your question but it sounds like maybe what you're looking for is something like Solomonoff induction.

In Bayes the subjectivity come from choosing priors. Solomonoff induction includes an objective way to calculate the priors (see also Kolmogorov complexity). Unfortunately it isn't actually computable - I was asking a kind of similar question last year which has some answers about this.

I asked a follow-up question regarding complexity whose answers were super useful to my understanding of these kinds of things - particularly the sequence which johnswentworth wrote.