The Chances of Propensities

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The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, ISSN: 0007-0882

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Suárez, Mauricio
Oxford University Press (OUP)
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article description
This paper argues that if propensities are displayed in objective physical chances then the appropriate representation of these chances is as indexed probability functions. Two alternative formal models, or accounts, for the relation between propensity properties and their chancy or probabilistic manifestations, in terms of conditionals and conditional probability are first reviewed. It is argued that both confront important objections, which are overcome by the account in terms of indexed probabilities. A number of further advantages of the indexed probability account are discussed, which suggest that it is promising as a general theory of objective physical chance. The paper ends with a discussion of the indexical character of the objective chances that are grounded in propensities.