When a vision system creates an interpretation of some input datn, it assigns truth values or probabilities to intcrnal hypothcses about the world. We present a non-dctcrministic method for assigning truth values that avoids many of the problcms encountered by existing relaxation methods. Instead of rcprcscnting probabilitics with realnumbers, we usc a more dircct encoding in which thc probability \ associated with a hypotlmis is rcprcscntcd by the probability hat it is in one of two states, true or false. Wc give a particular nondeterministic operator, based on statistical mechanics, for updating the truth values of hypothcses. The operator ensures that the probability of discovering a particular combination of hypothcscs is a simplc function of how good that combination is. Wc show that thcrc is a simple relationship bctween this operator and Bayesian inference, and we describe a learning rule which allows a parallel system to converge on a set ofweights that optimizes its perccptt~al inferences.