Deterministic Chance

Citation data:

The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, ISSN: 0007-0882, Vol: 61, Issue: 1, Page: 51-80

Publication Year:
2010
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9728
DOI:
10.1093/bjps/axp020
Author(s):
Glynn, Luke
Publisher(s):
Oxford University Press (OUP); Oxford University Press
Tags:
Arts and Humanities
article description
I argue that there are non-trivial objective chances (that is, objective chances other than 0 and 1) even in deterministic worlds. The argument is straightforward. I observe that there are probabilistic special scientific laws even in deterministic worlds. These laws project non-trivial probabilities for the events that they concern. And these probabilities play the chance role and so should be regarded as chances as opposed, for example, to epistemic probabilities or credences. The supposition of non-trivial deterministic chances might seem to land us in contradiction. The fundamental laws of deterministic worlds project trivial probabilities for the very same events that are assigned non-trivial probabilities by the special scientific laws. I argue that any appearance of tension is dissolved by recognition of the level-relativity of chances. There is therefore no obstacle to accepting non-trivial chance-role-playing deterministic probabilities as genuine chances.