# You May Believe You Are a Bayesian But You Are Probably Wrong

*Stephen Senn* ()

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Stephen Senn: University of Glasgow

*Rationality, Markets and Morals*, 2011, vol. 2, issue 42

**Abstract:**
An elementary sketch of some issues in statistical inference and in particular of the central role of likelihood is given. This is followed by brief outlines of what George Barnard considered were the four great systems of statistical inferences. These can be thought of terms of the four combinations of two factors at two levels. The first is fundamental purpose (decision or inference) and the second probability argument (direct or inverse). Of these four systems the 'fully Bayesiani approach of decision- making using inverse probability particularly associated with the Ramsay, De Finetti, Savage and Lindley has some claims to be the most impressive. It is claimed, however, and illustrated by example, that this approach seems to be impossible to follow. It is speculated that there may be some advantage to the practising statistician to follow George Barnardis advice of being familiar with all four systems.

**Keywords:** philosophy of statistics; decision theory; likelihood; subjective probability; Bayesianism; Bayes theorem; Fisher; Neyman and Pearson; Jeffreys (search for similar items in EconPapers)

**Date:** 2011

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