Baumann on the Monty Hall Problem and Single-Case Probabilities

13 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2015

See all articles by Ken Levy

Ken Levy

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Paul M. Hebert Law Center

Date Written: June 12, 2006

Abstract

Peter Baumann uses the Monty Hall game to demonstrate that probabilities cannot be meaningfully applied to individual games. Baumann draws from this first conclusion a second: in a single game, it is not necessarily rational to switch from the door that I have initially chosen to the door that Monty Hall did not open. After challenging Baumann's particular arguments for these conclusions, I argue that there is a deeper problem with his position: it rests on the false assumption that what justifies the switching strategy is its leading me to win a greater percentage of the time. In fact, what justifies the switching strategy is not any statistical result over the long run but rather the "causal structure" intrinsic to each individual game itself. Finally, I argue that an argument by Hilary Putnam will not help to save Baumann's second conclusion above.

Keywords: Monty Hall, probability, rigidity, causal structure, Peter Baumann

Suggested Citation

Levy, Ken, Baumann on the Monty Hall Problem and Single-Case Probabilities (June 12, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2548943 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2548943

Ken Levy (Contact Author)

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Paul M. Hebert Law Center ( email )

420 Law Center Building
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
United States

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