Objective chance: not propensity, maybe determinism

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Lato Sensu, Revue de la Société de philosophie des sciences, ISSN: 2295-8029, Vol: 3, Issue: 1, Page: 31-42

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Hoefer, Carl
Societe de Philosophie des Sciences; Société de philosophie des sciences
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article description
One currently popular view about the nature of objective probabilities, or objective chances, is that they – or some of them, at least – are primitive features of the physical world, not reducible to anything else nor explicable in terms of frequencies, degrees of belief, or anything else. In this paper I explore the question of what the semantic content of primitive chance claims could be. Every attempt I look at to supply such content either comes up empty-handed, or begs important questions against the skeptic who doubts the meaningfulness of primitive chance claims. In the second half of the paper I show that, by contrast, there are clear, and clearly contentful, ways to understand objective chance claims if we ground them on deterministic physical underpinnings.