Ph.D. course on

Fundamentals of Bayesian Reasoning

November-December 2016

The course will be given at the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg. Professor in charge will be Olle Häggström.


The topic of the course lies at the intersection between several disciplines, including mathematical statistics, economics and philosophy. We will look into the theory, developed in the 20th century by von Neumann, Morgenstern, Savage and others, that purports to give us reason to take a Bayesian approach to decision making and statistical inference, and we will try to critically evaluate how strong these reasons are. Some fundamental problems in adopting a Bayesian approach in practice will be addressed, including how to choose a prior distribution without invoking arbitrary subjectivity, as well as the notorious issue of anthropic bias and observation selection effects.

The course will draw on material from various sources, including books such as... well as research articles.

The course begins on November 4, and is planned to run until we take off for Season's Holidays in December. I will give lectures, and invite contributions by participants. We will meet (some) Tuesdays at 10-12, and (some) Fridays at 10-12, always in room MVL14 at the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Chalmers. The more precise schedule is as follows.

Completion of the course will be rewarded by 5 hp credits, and involves

As to the 45-minute oral presentations, those wishing to contribute need to get in touch with me no later than Thursday November 10 to agree about a date and topic for the contribution. Following are some ideas for topics, but other ideas are welcome (provided, of course, that they are relevant to the course).