A Misuse of Bayes's Theorem

Michael Levin


In this paper I identify a fallacy. The fallacy is worth noting for practical and theoretical reasons. First, the rampant occurrences ofthis fallacy-especially at moments calling for careful thought-indicate that it is more pernicious to clear thinking than many of those found in standard logic texts. Second, the fallacy stands apart from most others in that it contains multiple kinds oflogical error (i.e., fallacious and non-fallacious logical errors) that are themselves committed in abnormal ways, and thus it presents a two-tiered challenge to oversimplified accounts of how an argument can go bad.


probabilistic reasoning, witness reliabilility, Tversky and Kahneman, Bayes's Theorem, reliability, conditional probability

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22329/il.v19i1.2315

ISSN: 0824-2577