Chance and Determinism

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Frigg, Roman
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Determinism and chance seem to be irreconcilable opposites: either something is chancy or it is deterministic but not both. Yet there are processes which appear to square the circle by being chancy and deterministic at once, and the appearance is backed by well-confirmed scientific theories such as statistical mechanics which also seem to provide us with chances for deterministic processes. Is this possible, and if so how? In this essay I discuss this question for probabilities as they occur in the empirical sciences, setting aside metaphysical questions in connection with free will, divine intervention and determinism in history.