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Summary This is a category for debates about chance that do not easily fit into other categories. 
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289 found
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  1. Credence and Chance in Quantum Theory.John Earman - manuscript
    David Lewis' "Principal Principle" is a purported principle of rationality connecting credence and objective chance. Almost all of the discussion of the Principal Principle in the philosophical literature assumes classical probability theory, which is unfortunate since the theory of modern physics that, arguably, speaks most clearly of objective chance is the quantum theory, and quantum probabilities are not classical probabilities. This paper develops an account of how chance works in quantum theory that reveals a connection between credence and quantum chance (...)
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  2. On Classical Finite Probability Theory as a Quantum Probability Calculus.David Ellerman - manuscript
    This paper shows how the classical finite probability theory (with equiprobable outcomes) can be reinterpreted and recast as the quantum probability calculus of a pedagogical or "toy" model of quantum mechanics over sets (QM/sets). There are two parts. The notion of an "event" is reinterpreted from being an epistemological state of indefiniteness to being an objective state of indefiniteness. And the mathematical framework of finite probability theory is recast as the quantum probability calculus for QM/sets. The point is not to (...)
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  3. More Trouble for Regular Probabilitites.Matthew W. Parker - 2012
    In standard probability theory, probability zero is not the same as impossibility. But many have suggested that only impossible events should have probability zero. This can be arranged if we allow infinitesimal probabilities, but infinitesimals do not solve all of the problems. We will see that regular probabilities are not invariant over rigid transformations, even for simple, bounded, countable, constructive, and disjoint sets. Hence, regular chances cannot be determined by space-time invariant physical laws, and regular credences cannot satisfy seemingly reasonable (...)
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  4. T-Theoretical Single-Case Ontic Probability.David Grünberg - unknown - Yeditepe'de Felsefe (Philosophy at Yeditepe) 4.
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  5. The Nomic Likelihood Account of Laws.Meacham Christopher - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    An adequate account of laws should satisfy at least five desiderata: it should provide a unified account of laws and chances, it should yield plausible relations between laws and chances, it should vindicate numerical chance assignments, it should accommodate dynamical and non-dynamical chances, and it should accommodate a plausible range of nomic possibilities. No extant account of laws satisfies these desiderata. This paper presents a non-Humean account of laws, the Nomic Likelihood Account, that does.
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  6. Objectivity and the Method of Arbitrary Functions.Chloé de Canson - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axaa001.
    There is widespread excitement in the literature about the method of arbitrary functions: many take it to show that it is from the dynamics of systems that the objectivity of probabilities emerge. In this paper, I differentiate three ways in which a probability function might be objective, and I argue that the method of arbitrary functions cannot help us show that dynamics objectivise probabilities in any of these senses.
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  7. How Chance Explains.Michael Townsen Hicks & Alastair Wilson - forthcoming - Noûs.
    What explains the outcomes of chance processes? We claim that their setups do. Chances, we think, mediate these explanations of outcome by setup but do not feature in them. Facts about chances do feature in explanations of a different kind: higher-order explanations, which explain how and why setups explain their outcomes. In this paper, we elucidate this ‘mediator view’ of chancy explanation and defend it from a series of objections. We then show how it changes the playing field in four (...)
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  8. The Meta-Reversibility Objection.Christopher J. G. Meacham - forthcoming - In Barry Loewer, Brad Weslake & Eric Winsberg (eds.), Time's Arrow and the Probability Structure of the World.
    One popular approach to statistical mechanics understands statistical mechanical probabilities as measures of rational indifference. Naive formulations of this ``indifference approach'' face reversibility worries - while they yield the right prescriptions regarding future events, they yield the wrong prescriptions regarding past events. This paper begins by showing how the indifference approach can overcome the standard reversibility worries by appealing to the Past Hypothesis. But, the paper argues, positing a Past Hypothesis doesn't free the indifference approach from all reversibility worries. For (...)
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  9. In DH Mellor.F. P. Ramsey - forthcoming - Philosophical Papers.
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  10. Chance.F. P. Ramsey - forthcoming - Philosophical Papers. Dh Mellor. New York, Cambridge University Press.
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  11. Ontology, Complexity, and Compositionality.Michael Strevens - forthcoming - In Matthew Slater & Zanja Yudell (eds.), Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Sciences of complex systems thrive on compositional theories – toolkits that allow the construction of models of a wide range of systems, each consisting of various parts put together in different ways. To be tractable, a compositional theory must make shrewd choices about the parts and properties that constitute its basic ontology. One such choice is to decompose a system into spatiotemporally discrete parts. Compositional theories in the high-level sciences follow this rule of thumb to a certain extent, but they (...)
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  12. Powers, Probabilities, and Tendencies.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2022 - Philosophia:1-33.
    In this article, I aim at showing how powers may ground different types of probability in the universe. In Section 1 I single out several dimensions along which the probability of something can be determined. Each of such dimensions can be further specified at the type-level or at the token-level. In Section 2 I introduce some metaphysical assumptions about powers. In Section 3 I show how powers can ground single-case probabilities and frequency-probabilities in a deterministic setting. Later on, in Section (...)
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  13. Weintraub’s Response to Williamson’s Coin Flip Argument.Matthew W. Parker - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-21.
    A probability distribution is regular if it does not assign probability zero to any possible event. Williamson argued that we should not require probabilities to be regular, for if we do, certain “isomorphic” physical events must have different probabilities, which is implausible. His remarks suggest an assumption that chances are determined by intrinsic, qualitative circumstances. Weintraub responds that Williamson’s coin flip events differ in their inclusion relations to each other, or the inclusion relations between their times, and this can account (...)
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  14. The Economics and Philosophy of Risk.H. Orri Stefansson - 2021 - In Conrad Heilmann & Julian Reiss (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Economics. Routledge.
    Neoclassical economists use expected utility theory to explain, predict, and prescribe choices under risk, that is, choices where the decision-maker knows---or at least deems suitable to act as if she knew---the relevant probabilities. Expected utility theory has been subject to both empirical and conceptual criticism. This chapter reviews expected utility theory and the main criticism it has faced. It ends with a brief discussion of subjective expected utility theory, which is the theory neoclassical economists use to explain, predict, and prescribe (...)
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  15. Objective Consequentialism and the Plurality of Chances.Leszek Wroński - 2021 - Synthese 198 (12):12089-12105.
    I claim that objective consequentialism faces a problem stemming from the existence in some situations of a plurality of chances relevant to the outcomes of an agent’s acts. I suggest that this phenomenon bears structural resemblance to the well-known Reference Class problem. I outline a few ways in which one could attempt to deal with the issue, suggesting that it is the higher-level chance that should be employed by OC.
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  16. Creative Undecidability of Real-World Dynamics and the Emergent Time Hierarchy.Andrei P. Kirilyuk - 2020 - FQXi Essay Contest 2019-2020 “Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability”.
    The unreduced solution to the arbitrary interaction problem, absent in the standard theory framework, reveals many equally real and mutually incompatible system configurations, or "realizations". This is the essence of universal dynamic undecidability, or multivaluedness, and the ensuing causal randomness (unpredictability), non-computability, irreversible time flow (evolution, emergence), and dynamic complexity of every real system, object, or process. This creative undecidability of real-world dynamics provides causal explanations for "quantum mysteries", relativity postulates, cosmological problems, and the huge efficiency of high-complexity phenomena, such (...)
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  17. On the Nature of Coincidental Events.Alessandra Melas & Pietro Salis - 2020 - Axiomathes:1-26.
    It is a common opinion that chance events cannot be understood in causal terms. Conversely, according to a causal view of chance, intersections between independent causal chains originate accidental events, called “coincidences.” The present paper takes into proper consideration this causal conception of chance and tries to shed new light on it. More precisely, starting from Hart and Honoré’s view of coincidental events, this paper furnishes a more detailed account on the nature of coincidences, according to which coincidental events are (...)
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  18. From the 'Free Will Theorems' to the 'Choice Ontology' of Quantum.Vasil Penchev - 2020 - Philosophy of Science eJournal (Elsevier: SSRN) 13 (33):1-10.
    If the concept of “free will” is reduced to that of “choice” all physical world share the latter quality. Anyway the “free will” can be distinguished from the “choice”: The “free will” involves implicitly certain preliminary goal, and the choice is only the mean, by which it can be achieved or not by the one who determines the goal. Thus, for example, an electron has always a choice but not free will unlike a human possessing both. Consequently, and paradoxically, the (...)
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  19. Symmetry Arguments Against Regular Probability: A Reply to Recent Objections.Matthew Parker - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):1-21.
    A probability distribution is regular if it does not assign probability zero to any possible event. While some hold that probabilities should always be regular, three counter-arguments have been posed based on examples where, if regularity holds, then perfectly similar events must have different probabilities. Howson and Benci et al. have raised technical objections to these symmetry arguments, but we see here that their objections fail. Howson says that Williamson’s “isomorphic” events are not in fact isomorphic, but Howson is speaking (...)
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  20. ”More of a Cause’: Recent Work on Degrees of Causation and Responsibility.Alex Kaiserman - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (7):e12498.
    It is often natural to compare two events by describing one as ‘more of a cause’ of some effect than the other. But what do such comparisons amount to, exactly? This paper aims to provide a guided tour of the recent literature on ‘degrees of causation’. Section 2 looks at what I call ‘dependence measures’, which arise from thinking of causes as difference-makers. Section 3 looks at what I call ‘production measures’, which arise from thinking of causes as jointly sufficient (...)
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  21. Objective Fundamental Reality Structure by the Unreduced Complexity Development.Andrei P. Kirilyuk - 2018 - FQXi Essay Contest 2017-2018 “What Is “Fundamental””.
    We explain why exactly the simplified abstract scheme of reality within the standard science paradigm cannot provide the consistent picture of “truly fundamental” reality and how the unreduced, causally complete description of the latter is regained within the extended, provably complete solution to arbitrary interaction problem and the ensuing concept of universal dynamic complexity. We emphasize the practical importance of this extension for both particular problem solution and further, now basically unlimited fundamental science development (otherwise dangerously stagnating within its traditional (...)
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  22. The Metaphysical Consequences of Counterfactual Skepticism.Nina Emery - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):399-432.
    A series of recent arguments purport to show that most counterfactuals of the form if A had happened then C would have happened are not true. These arguments pose a challenge to those of us who think that counterfactual discourse is a useful part of ordinary conversation, of philosophical reasoning, and of scientific inquiry. Either we find a way to revise the semantics for counterfactuals in order to avoid these arguments, or we find a way to ensure that the relevant (...)
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  23. Causation, Probability, and the Continuity Bind.Anthony F. Peressini - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):881-909.
    Analyses of singular causation often make use of the idea that a cause increases the probability of its effect. Of particular salience in such accounts are the values of the probability function of the effect, conditional on the presence and absence of the putative cause, analysed around the times of the events in question: causes are characterized by the effect’s probability function being greater when conditionalized upon them. Put this way, it becomes clearer that the ‘behaviour’ of probability functions in (...)
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  24. Undermined.Gordon Belot - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):781-791.
    ABSTRACTA popular strategy for understanding the probabilities that arise in physics is to interpret them via reductionist accounts of chance—indeed, it is sometimes claimed that such accounts are uniquely well-suited to make sense of the probabilities in classical statistical mechanics. Here it is argued that reductionist accounts of chance carry a steep but unappreciated cost: when applied to physical theories of the relevant type, they inevitably distort the relations of probability that they take as input.
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  25. Vague Chance?Seamus Bradley - 2016 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3.
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  26. “Of All the Gin Joints …” Causality, Science, Chance, and God.Michael J. Dodds - 2016 - Nova et Vetera 14 (2):503-525.
  27. Probability and Randomness.Antony Eagle - 2016 - In Alan Hájek & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. pp. 440-459.
    Early work on the frequency theory of probability made extensive use of the notion of randomness, conceived of as a property possessed by disorderly collections of outcomes. Growing out of this work, a rich mathematical literature on algorithmic randomness and Kolmogorov complexity developed through the twentieth century, but largely lost contact with the philosophical literature on physical probability. The present chapter begins with a clarification of the notions of randomness and probability, conceiving of the former as a property of a (...)
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  28. Existence Puzzles and Probabilistic Explanation.Tyron Goldschmidt - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (3):469-482.
  29. The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy.Alan Hajek & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Probability theory is a key tool of the physical, mathematical, and social sciences. It has also been playing an increasingly significant role in philosophy: in epistemology, philosophy of science, ethics, social philosophy, philosophy of religion, and elsewhere. This Handbook encapsulates and furthers the influence of philosophy on probability, and of probability on philosophy. Nearly forty articles summarise the state of play and present new insights in various areas of research at the intersection of these two fields. The articles will be (...)
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  30. Genealogical Explanations of Chance and Morals.Toby Handfield - 2016 - In Uri D. Leibowitz & Neil Sinclair (eds.), Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability. Oxford University Press.
    Objective chance and morality are rarely discussed together. In this paper, I argue that there is a surprising similarity in the epistemic standing of our beliefs about both objective chance and objective morality. The key similarity is that both of these sorts of belief are undermined -- in a limited, but important way -- by plausible genealogical accounts of the concepts that feature in these beliefs. The paper presents a brief account of Richard Joyce's evolutionary hypothesis of the genealogy of (...)
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  31. A Philosophical Guide to Chance. [REVIEW]J. T. M. Miller - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (262):pqv037.
    A review of A Philosophical Guide to Chance by Toby Handfield. Cambridge CUP 2012.
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  32. Chance and Necessity.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):294-308.
    A principle endorsed by many theories of objective chance, and practically forced on us by the standard interpretation of the Kolmogorov semantics for chance, is the principle that when a proposition P has a chance, any proposition Q that is necessarily equivalent to P will have the same chance as P. Call this principle SUB (for the substitution of necessary equivalents into chance ascriptions). I will present some problems for a theory of chance, and will argue that the best way (...)
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  33. Imprecise Probability and Chance.Anthony F. Peressini - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):561-586.
    Understanding probabilities as something other than point values has often been motivated by the need to find more realistic models for degree of belief, and in particular the idea that degree of belief should have an objective basis in “statistical knowledge of the world.” I offer here another motivation growing out of efforts to understand how chance evolves as a function of time. If the world is “chancy” in that there are non-trivial, objective, physical probabilities at the macro-level, then the (...)
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  34. Chance.Richard Shiff - 2016 - Common Knowledge 22 (1):1-4.
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  35. Finite Frequentism in a Big World.Nick Tosh - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):169-213.
    The view that chances are relative frequencies of occurrence within actual, finite reference classes has long been written off. I argue that it ought to be reconsidered. Focusing on non-deterministic chance, I defend a version of finite frequentism in which reference classmates are required to have qualitatively identical pasts. While my analysis can evade or resist several standard objections, it has a counterintuitive consequence: non-trivial chances entail the existence of past light cones that are perfect intrinsic duplicates. In mitigation, I (...)
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  36. Everettian Confirmation and Sleeping Beauty: Reply to Wilson: Figure 1.Darren Bradley - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):683-693.
    In Bradley, I offered an analysis of Sleeping Beauty and the Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics. I argued that one can avoid a kind of easy confirmation of EQM by paying attention to observation selection effects, that halfers are right about Sleeping Beauty, and that thirders cannot avoid easy confirmation for the truth of EQM. Wilson agrees with my analysis of observation selection effects in EQM, but goes on to, first, defend Elga’s thirder argument on Sleeping Beauty and, second, argue (...)
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  37. Squaring the Dialectic of Inference and Chance.Paul Healey - 2015 - Philosophy Study 5 (5).
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  38. Emergent Chance.Christian List & Marcus Pivato - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (1):119-152.
    We offer a new argument for the claim that there can be non-degenerate objective chance (“true randomness”) in a deterministic world. Using a formal model of the relationship between different levels of description of a system, we show how objective chance at a higher level can coexist with its absence at a lower level. Unlike previous arguments for the level-specificity of chance, our argument shows, in a precise sense, that higher-level chance does not collapse into epistemic probability, despite higher-level properties (...)
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  39. The Secularization of Chance: Toward Understanding the Impact of the Probability Revolution on Christian Belief in Divine Providence.Josh Reeves - 2015 - Zygon 50 (3):604-620.
    This article gives a brief history of chance in the Christian tradition, from casting lots in the Hebrew Bible to the discovery of laws of chance in the modern period. I first discuss the deep-seated skepticism towards chance in Christian thought, as shown in the work of Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin. The article then describes the revolution in our understanding of chance—when contemporary concepts such as probability and risk emerged—that occurred a century after Calvin. The modern ability to quantify chance (...)
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  40. Chance and the Emergence of Purpose A Peircean Perspective.Andrew Robinson - 2015 - Philosophy, Theology and the Sciences 2 (2):194.
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  41. How Valuable Are Chances?H. Orii Stefansson & Richard Bradley - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (4):602-625.
    Chance Neutrality is the thesis that, conditional on some proposition being true, its chance of being true should be a matter of practical indifference. The aim of this article is to examine whether Chance Neutrality is a requirement of rationality. We prove that given Chance Neutrality, the Principal Principle entails a thesis called Linearity; the centerpiece of von Neumann and Morgenstern’s expected utility theory. With this in mind, we argue that the Principal Principle is a requirement of practical rationality but (...)
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  42. Stochastic Independence and Causal Connection.Michael Strevens - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):605-627.
    Assumptions of stochastic independence are crucial to statistical models in science. Under what circumstances is it reasonable to suppose that two events are independent? When they are not causally or logically connected, so the standard story goes. But scientific models frequently treat causally dependent events as stochastically independent, raising the question whether there are kinds of causal connection that do not undermine stochastic independence. This paper provides one piece of an answer to this question, treating the simple case of two (...)
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  43. Introduction: Toward a Definition of Biosemiosic Chance.Victoria N. Alexander - 2014 - Biosemiotics 7 (3):329-334.
    In this special issue, our objective is to clarify what biosemioticians may mean insofar as they claim that living systems are capable of making choices or that biosemiotic interpretations are partially indeterminate. A number of different senses of the term “chance” are discussed as we move toward a consensus. We find that biosemiosic chance may arise out of conditions involving quantum indeterminacy, randomness, deterministic chaos, or unpredictability, but biosemiosic chance is mainly due to the fact that living entities invest their (...)
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  44. On the Meaning of Chance in Biology.James A. Coffman - 2014 - Biosemiotics 7 (3):377-388.
    Chance has somewhat different meanings in different contexts, and can be taken to be either ontological or epistemological . Here I argue that, whether or not it stems from physical indeterminacy, chance is a fundamental biological reality that is meaningless outside the context of knowledge. To say that something happened by chance means that it did not happen by design. This of course is a cornerstone of Darwin’s theory of evolution: random undirected variation is the creative wellspring upon which natural (...)
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  45. Is the Past a Matter of Chance?Antony Eagle - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. U.K: Oxford University Press. pp. 126-158.
    This volume sets the agenda for future work on time and chance, which are central to theemerging sub-field of metaphysics of science.
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  46. The Enigma Of Probability.Nick Ergodos - 2014 - Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (1):37-71.
    Using “brute reason” I will show why there can be only one valid interpretation of probability. The valid interpretation turns out to be a further refinement of Popper’s Propensity interpretation of probability. Via some famous probability puzzles and new thought experiments I will show how all other interpretations of probability fail, in particular the Bayesian interpretations, while these puzzles do not present any difficulties for the interpretation proposed here. In addition, the new interpretation casts doubt on some concepts often taken (...)
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  47. Chance and Context.Toby Handfield & Alastair Wilson - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press.
    The most familiar philosophical conception of objective chance renders determinism incompatible with non-trivial chances. This conception – associated in particular with the work of David Lewis – is not a good fit with our use of the word ‘chance’ and its cognates in ordinary discourse. In this paper we show how a generalized framework for chance can reconcile determinism with non-trivial chances, and provide for a more charitable interpretation of ordinary chance-talk. According to our proposal, variation in an admissible ‘evidence (...)
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  48. Infinitesimal Chances.Thomas Hofweber - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    It is natural to think that questions in the metaphysics of chance are independent of the mathematical representation of chance in probability theory. After all, chance is a feature of events that comes in degrees and the mathematical representation of chance concerns these degrees but leaves the nature of chance open. The mathematical representation of chance could thus, un-controversially, be taken to be what it is commonly taken to be: a probability measure satisfying Kolmogorov’s axioms. The metaphysical questions about chance (...)
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  49. Aristotle’s Concept of Chance: Accidents, Cause, Necessity, and Determinism.Matthew King - 2014 - The European Legacy 19 (7):934-935.
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  50. Kinds of Chance in Games and Sports.Filip Kobiela - 2014 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 8 (1):65-76.
    While talking about sports (and games) we use such expressions as ?random victory?, ?winning by accident?, ?skill against luck?, ?chance (fortune) favours the better player?, etc. Unfortunately, chance-related notions that occur in these expressions are not well defined?their meaning is vague and it is not clear whether they refer to one or many different phenomena. Because such phenomena play an important role in sport, from the viewpoint of the philosophy of sport it is necessary to give a systematic account of (...)
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