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The notion of experience and Bayesian Statistics

Hegel, Experience and Bayesian Statistics

Experience is a process. This process is essentially negative. According to Hegel in his Phenomenology of Spirit, experience creates a dialectic process that cynically becomes scepticism in action. Experience acts as a reversal of consciousness process that questions the inherent beliefs and status of the consciousness. Hegel declares that the true nature of experience is to reverse itself in this way in order to acquire a certain kind of knowledge that the subject has about himself.

Insight always involves an element of self-knowledge and this constitutes a necessary side order of what we call experience.

Going back even further Aeschylus in Agamemnon talks about Zeus assigning to man the 'learning by suffering' ("πάθει μαθός"). Although this sounds like a curse to mankind it incorporates the Hegelian self-knowledge principle but elevating this to the level of religious insight. This is not just a part of the birth of Greek tragedy, but is an element of the method that forms knowledge.

In a sense this exactly the mechanism of Bayesian statistics. The prior distribution represents the current 'self' which undergoes a transformation through the calculation of the likelihood of a certain action. The resulting posterior probability distribution represents the new insight that dialectically will play the part of a prior once new data (and new experience becomes available).

Lawptimize uses the Bayesian statistics mechanism on each of the lawyers choices in order to be able to provide insights for the future assignment of the probabilities by the lawyers in the litigation decision tree. In a sense we are proud of the fact that this Hegelian dialectic principle is in practice in such an application through the implementation of Bayes's theorem.

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