The Third Way on Objective Probability: A Skeptic's Guide to Objective Chance

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Hoefer, Carl
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The goal of this paper is to sketch and defend a new interpretation or theory of objective chance, one that lets us be sure such chances exist and shows how they can play the roles we traditionally grant them. The subtitle obviously emulates the title of Lewis seminal 1980 paper A Subjectivist s Guide to Objective Chance while indicating an important difference in perspective. The view developed below shares two major tenets with Lewis last (1994) account of objective chance: (1) The Principal Principle tells us most of what we know about objective chance; (2) Objective chances are not primitive modal facts, propensities, or powers, but rather facts entailed by the overall pattern of events and processes in the actual world. But it differs from Lewis’ account in most other respects. Another subtitle I considered was A Humean Guide ... But while the account of chance below is compatible with any stripe of Humeanism (Lewis , Hume s, and others ), it presupposes no general Humean philosophy. Only a skeptical attitude about probability itself is presupposed (as in point (2) above); what we should say about causality, laws, modality and so on is left a separate question. Still, I will label the account to be developed “Humean objective chance”.