Probability in Classical Population Genetics

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Gildenhuys, Peter
conference paper description
The reason why population genetics is a probabilistic theory has attracted considerable attention from philosophers. In what follows, I offer a novel account of what motivates the introduction of probabilities into classical population genetics. Probabilities make the theory easier to apply for researchers given their epistemic limitations and give the theory a recursive structure, thereby making possible inferences about the dynamics of systems over multiple generations. I argue that probabilities in population genetics can be given a credentist interpretation according to which the probabilities reflect constraints on confidence or belief.