The World According to De Finetti

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Bruno de Finetti is one of the founding fathers of the subjectivist school of probability, where probabilities are interpreted as rational degrees of belief. His work on the relation between the theorems of the probability calculus and rationality is among the corner stones of modern subjective probability theory. De Finetti maintained that rationality requires that an agent’s degrees of belief be coherent.
I argue that de Finetti held that the coherence conditions of degrees of belief in events depend on their verifiability. On this view, the familiar constraints of coherence only apply to sets of degrees of belief that could in principle be jointly verified. Accordingly, the constraints that coherence imposes on degrees of belief are generally weaker than the familiar ones. I then consider the implications of this interpretation of de Finetti for probabilities in quantum mechanics, focusing on the EPR/Bohm experiment and Bell’s theorem.