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Understanding Evidential Reasoning

December, 1990

We address recent criticisms of evidential reasoning, an approach to the analysis of imprecise and uncertain information that is based on the Dempster-Shafer calculus of evidence. We show that evidential reasoning can be interpreted in terms of classical probability theory and that the Dempster-Shafer calculus of evidence may be considered to be a form of generalized probabilities reasoning based on the representation of probabilistic ignorance by intervals of possible values. In particular, we emphasize that it is not necessary to resort to nonprobabilistic or subjectivist explanations to justify the validity of the approach.

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