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  1. Probability Out Of Determinism.Michael Strevens - 2011 - In Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics. Oxford University Press. pp. 339--364.
    This paper offers a metaphysics of physical probability in (or if you prefer, truth conditions for probabilistic claims about) deterministic systems based on an approach to the explanation of probabilistic patterns in deterministic systems called the method of arbitrary functions. Much of the appeal of the method is its promise to provide an account of physical probability on which probability assignments have the ability to support counterfactuals about frequencies. It is argued that the eponymous arbitrary functions are of little philosophical (...)
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  2. Rationalizing the Principal Principle for Non-Humean Chance.J. Khawaja - manuscript
    According to Humean theories of objective chance, the chances reduce to patterns in the history of occurrent events, such as frequencies. According to non-Humean accounts, the chances are metaphysically fundamental, existing independently of the "Humean Mosaic" of actually-occurring events. It is therefore possible, by the lights of non-Humeanism, for the chances and the frequencies to diverge wildly. Humeans often allege that this undermines the ability of non-Humean accounts of chance to rationalize adherence to David Lewis' Principal Principle (PP), which states (...)
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  3. T-theoretical Single-case Ontic Probability.David Grünberg - unknown - Yeditepe'de Felsefe (Philosophy at Yeditepe) 4.
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  4. Sleeping Beauty: Awakenings, Chance, Secrets, and Video.Nathan Salmón - forthcoming - In Alessandro Capone, Roberto Graci & Pietro Perconti (eds.), New Frontiers in Pragmalinguistic Studies. Springer Nature.
    A new philosophical analysis is provided of the notorious Sleeping Beauty Problem. It is argued that the correct solution is one-third, but not in the way previous philosophers have typically meant this. A modified version of the Problem demonstrates that neither self-locating information nor amnesia is relevant to the core Problem, which is simply to evaluate the conditional chance of heads given an undated Monday-or-Tuesday awakening. Previous commentators have failed to appreciate the significance of the information that Beauty gains upon (...)
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  5. The conceptual foundation of the propensity interpretation of fitness.Zachary J. Mayne - 2024 - Synthese 203 (10).
    The propensity interpretation of fitness (PIF) holds that evolutionary fitness is an objectively probabilistic causal disposition (i.e., a propensity) toward reproductive success. I characterize this as the conceptual foundation of the PIF. Reproductive propensities are meant to explain trends in actual reproductive outcomes. In this paper, I analyze the minimal theoretical and ontological commitments that must accompany the explanatory power afforded by the PIF’s foundation. I discuss three senses in which these commitments are less burdensome than has typically been recognized: (...)
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  6. Potentiality realism: a realistic and indeterministic physics based on propensities.Flavio Del Santo & Nicolas Gisin - 2023 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 13 (4):1-16.
    We propose an interpretation of physics named potentiality realism. This view, which can be applied to classical as well as to quantum physics, regards potentialities (i.e. intrinsic, objective propensities for individual events to obtain) as elements of reality, thereby complementing the actual properties taken by physical variables. This allows one to naturally reconcile realism and fundamental indeterminism in any theoretical framework. We discuss our specific interpretation of propensities, that require them to depart from being probabilities at the formal level, though (...)
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  7. The Nomic Likelihood Account of Laws.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2023 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9 (9):230-284.
    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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  8. The Physical Foundation of Quantum Theory.Mehran Shaghaghi - 2023 - Foundations of Physics 53 (1):1-36.
    The number of independent messages a physical system can carry is limited by the number of its adjustable properties. In particular, systems with only one adjustable property cannot carry more than a single message at a time. We demonstrate that this is true for the photons in the double-slit experiment, and that this is what leads to the fundamental limit on measuring the complementary aspect of the photons. Next, we illustrate that systems with a single adjustable property exhibit other quantum (...)
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  9. The Open Past in an Indeterministic Physics.Nicolas Gisin & Flavio Del Santo - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 53 (1):1-11.
    Discussions on indeterminism in physics focus on the possibility of an open future, i.e. the possibility of having potential alternative future events, the realisation of one of which is not fully determined by the present state of affairs. Yet, can indeterminism affect also the past, making it open as well? We show that by upholding principles of finiteness of information one can entail such a possibility. We provide a toy model that shows how the past could be fundamentally indeterminate, while (...)
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  10. The Complex Nexus of Evolutionary Fitness.Mauricio Suárez - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-26.
    The propensity nature of evolutionary fitness has long been appreciated and is nowadays amply discussed. The discussion has, however, on occasion followed long standing conflations in the philosophy of probability literature between propensities, probabilities, and frequencies. In this paper, I apply a more recent conception of propensities in modelling practice to some of the key issues, regarding the mathematical representation of fitness and how it may be regarded as explanatory. The ensuing complex nexus of fitness emphasises the distinction between biological (...)
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  11. Quantum propensities in the brain cortex and free will.Danko D. Georgiev - 2021 - Biosystems 208:104474.
    Capacity of conscious agents to perform genuine choices among future alternatives is a prerequisite for moral responsibility. Determinism that pervades classical physics, however, forbids free will, undermines the foundations of ethics, and precludes meaningful quantification of personal biases. To resolve that impasse, we utilize the characteristic indeterminism of quantum physics and derive a quantitative measure for the amount of free will manifested by the brain cortical network. The interaction between the central nervous system and the surrounding environment is shown to (...)
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  12. A Refined Propensity Account for GRW Theory.Lorenzo Lorenzetti - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (2):1-20.
    Spontaneous collapse theories of quantum mechanics turn the usual Schrödinger equation into a stochastic dynamical law. In particular, in this paper, I will focus on the GRW theory. Two philosophical issues that can be raised about GRW concern (i) the ontology of the theory, in particular the nature of the wave function and its role within the theory, and (ii) the interpretation of the objective probabilities involved in the dynamics of the theory. During the last years, it has been claimed (...)
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  13. Immanent powers versus causal powers (propensities, latencies and dispositions) in quantum mechanics.Christian de Ronde - 2019 - In Diederik Aerts, Dalla Chiara, Maria Luisa, Christian de Ronde & Decio Krause (eds.), Probing the meaning of quantum mechanics: information, contextuality, relationalism and entanglement: Proceedings of the II International Workshop on Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Information: Physical, Philosophical and Logical Approaches, CLEA, Brussels. World Scientific.
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  14. Propensities return us to the discovery-creation debate about entrepreneurial opportunities.Lee Braver - 2018 - Academy of Management Review 43.
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  15. The Chances of Propensities.Mauricio Suárez - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1155-1177.
    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 (...)
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  16. The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy.Alan Hájek & 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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  17. Probability in Biology: The Case of Fitness.Roberta L. Millstein - 2016 - In A. Hájek & C. R. Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 601-622.
    I argue that the propensity interpretation of fitness, properly understood, not only solves the explanatory circularity problem and the mismatch problem, but can also withstand the Pandora’s box full of problems that have been thrown at it. Fitness is the propensity (i.e., probabilistic ability, based on heritable physical traits) for organisms or types of organisms to survive and reproduce in particular environments and in particular populations for a specified number of generations; if greater than one generation, “reproduction” includes descendants of (...)
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  18. Probabilidad y contratos. Sobre el pragmatismo de Roberto Torretti.David Teira - 2016 - Revista de Humanidades de Valparaíso 8:251-268.
    I want to expand the pragmatist view of probability advocated by Roberto Torretti, drawing on the propensity approach. In the first part, I will show how the concept of mathematical expectation originally formalized an Aristotelian principle of justice. In the second half, I will present the game-theoretic approach to probability developed by Shafer and Vovk, showing how it allows us to interpret the original normativity of mathematical expectations. I will finally discuss how this latter view contributes to a pragmatist understanding (...)
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  19. The Propensity Interpretation of Probability: A Re-evaluation.Joseph Berkovitz - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):629-711.
    Single-case and long-run propensity theories are among the main objective interpretations of probability. There have been various objections to these theories, e.g. that it is difficult to explain why propensities should satisfy the probability axioms and, worse, that propensities are at odds with these axioms, that the explication of propensities is circular and accordingly not informative, and that single-case propensities are metaphysical and accordingly non-scientific. We consider various propensity theories of probability and their prospects in light of these objections. We (...)
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  20. Toward a propensity interpretation of stochastic mechanism for the life sciences.Lane DesAutels - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):2921-2953.
    In what follows, I suggest that it makes good sense to think of the truth of the probabilistic generalizations made in the life sciences as metaphysically grounded in stochastic mechanisms in the world. To further understand these stochastic mechanisms, I take the general characterization of mechanism offered by MDC :1–25, 2000) and explore how it fits with several of the going philosophical accounts of chance: subjectivism, frequentism, Lewisian best-systems, and propensity. I argue that neither subjectivism, frequentism, nor a best-system-style interpretation (...)
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  21. The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness and the Propensity Interpretation of Probability.Isabelle Drouet & Francesca Merlin - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):457-468.
    The paper provides a new critical perspective on the propensity interpretation of fitness, by investigating its relationship to the propensity interpretation of probability. Two main conclusions are drawn. First, the claim that fitness is a propensity cannot be understood properly: fitness is not a propensity in the sense prescribed by the propensity interpretation of probability. Second, this interpretation of probability is inessential for explanations proposed by the PIF in evolutionary biology. Consequently, interpreting the probabilistic dimension of fitness in terms of (...)
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  22. A critique of empiricist propensity theories.Mauricio Suárez - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (2):215-231.
    I analyse critically what I regard as the most accomplished empiricist account of propensities, namely the long run propensity theory developed by Donald Gillies . Empiricist accounts are distinguished by their commitment to the ‘identity thesis’: the identification of propensities and objective probabilities. These theories are intended, in the tradition of Karl Popper’s influential proposal, to provide an interpretation of probability that renders probability statements directly testable by experiment. I argue that the commitment to the identity thesis leaves empiricist theories, (...)
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  23. Chance and Temporal Asymmetry.Alastair Wilson (ed.) - 2014 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This volume presents twelve original essays on the metaphysics of science, with particular focus on the physics of chance and time. Experts in the field subject familiar approaches to searching critiques, and make bold new proposals in a number of key areas. Together, they set the agenda for future work on the subject.
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  24. Mauricio Suárez, ed. 2011. Probabilities, Causes, and Propensities in Physics.Foad Dizadji-Bahmani - 2013 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 28 (2):339-342.
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  25. Trait fitness is not a propensity, but fitness variation is.Elliott Sober - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):336-341.
    The propensity interpretation of fitness draws on the propensity interpretation of probability, but advocates of the former have not attended sufficiently to problems with the latter. The causal power of C to bring about E is not well-represented by the conditional probability Pr. Since the viability fitness of trait T is the conditional probability Pr, the viability fitness of the trait does not represent the degree to which having the trait causally promotes surviving. The same point holds for fertility fitness. (...)
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  26. Propensities and Pragmatism.Mauricio Suárez - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy 110 (2):61-92.
    : This paper outlines a genuinely pragmatist conception of propensity, and defends it against common objections to the propensity interpretation of probability, prominently Humphreys’ paradox. The paper reviews the paradox and identifies one of its key assumptions, the identity thesis, according to which propensities are probabilities. The identity thesis is also involved in empiricist propensity interpretations deriving from Popper’s influential original proposal, and makes such interpretations untenable. As an alternative, I urge a return to Charles Peirce’s original insights on probabilistic (...)
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  27. Probabilities, Laws, and Structures.Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao Gonzalez, Hartmann J., Stöltzner Stephan, Weber Michael & Marcel (eds.) - 2012 - Springer: Netherlands.
    This volume, the third in this Springer series, contains selected papers from the four workshops organized by the ESF Research Networking Programme "The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective" in 2010: Pluralism in the Foundations of Statistics Points of Contact between the Philosophy of Physics and the Philosophy of Biology The Debate on Mathematical Modeling in the Social Sciences Historical Debates about Logic, Probability and Statistics The volume is accordingly divided in four sections, each of them containing papers coming (...)
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  28. A philosophical guide to chance.Toby Handfield - 2012 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    It is a commonplace that scientific inquiry makes extensive use of probabilities, many of which seem to be objective chances, describing features of reality that are independent of our minds. Such chances appear to have a number of paradoxical or puzzling features: they appear to be mind-independent facts, but they are intimately connected with rational psychology; they display a temporal asymmetry, but they are supposed to be grounded in physical laws that are time-symmetric; and chances are used to explain and (...)
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  29. Objective Chances in a Deterministic World.Daniel Lambright - 2012 - Dissertation, Bates College
    Determinism is the thesis that the state of the world at any time uniquely determines the state of the world at all future times. Our best scientific theories seem inconclusive as to whether our world is deterministic. Our world could very well be either partially or completely deterministic. But determinism is not as innocuous as it seems; the truth of determinism seems to come into conflict with many intuitive concepts. One such concept is objective chance. Our intuitive notions of objective (...)
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  30. Propensities and Transcendental Assumptions.Thomas Bartelborth - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (3):363-381.
    In order to comprehend the world around us and construct explaining theories for this purpose, we need a conception of physical probability, since we come across many (apparently) probabilistic phenomena in our world. But how should we understand objective probability claims? Since pure frequency approaches of probability are not appropriate, we have to use a single case propensity interpretation. Unfortunately, many philosophers believe that this understanding of probability is burdened with significant difficulties. My main aim is to show that we (...)
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  31. D. H. MELLOR The Matter of Chance.Luke Glynn - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4):899-906.
    Though almost forty years have elapsed since its first publication, it is a testament to the philosophical acumen of its author that 'The Matter of Chance' contains much that is of continued interest to the philosopher of science. Mellor advances a sophisticated propensity theory of chance, arguing that this theory makes better sense than its rivals (in particular subjectivist, frequentist, logical and classical theories) of ‘what professional usage shows to be thought true of chance’ (p. xi) – in particular ‘that (...)
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  32. Time and Chance Propensities.Carl Hoefer - 2011 - In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oxford University Press.
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  33. Why propensities cannot be probabilities.Paul W. Humphreys - 2011 - In Antony Eagle (ed.), Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings. Routledge.
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  34. A Modest Proposal about Chance.Jenann Ismael - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy 108 (8):416-442.
    First para: Before the 17th century, there was not much discussion, and little uniformity in conception, of natural laws. The rise of science in 17th century, Newton’s mathematization of physics, and the provision of strict, deterministic laws that applied equally to the heavens and to the terrestrial realm had a profound impact in transforming the philosophical imagination. A philosophical conception of physical law built on the example of Newtonian Mechanics became quickly entrenched. Between the 17th and 20th centuries, there was (...)
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  35. Resiliency, propensities, and causal necessity.Brian Skyrms - 2011 - In Antony Eagle (ed.), Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings. Routledge.
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  36. Probabilities, Causes and Propensities in Physics.Mauricio Suárez - 2011 - In Mauricio Su’Arez (ed.), Probabilities, Causes and Propensities in Physics. Springer.
    These are the introduction chapters to the forthcoming collection of essays published by Springer (Synthese Library) and entitled Probabilities, Causes and Propensities in Physics.
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  37. Propensities and Frequencies.James H. Fetzer - 2010 - In Ellery Eells & James H. Fetzer (eds.), The Place of Probability in Science. Springer. pp. 323--351.
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  38. Past Probabilities.Sven Ove Hansson - 2010 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 51 (2):207-223.
    The probability that a fair coin tossed yesterday landed heads is either 0 or 1, but the probability that it would land heads was 0.5. In order to account for the latter type of probabilities, past probabilities, a temporal restriction operator is introduced and axiomatically characterized. It is used to construct a representation of conditional past probabilities. The logic of past probabilities turns out to be strictly weaker than the logic of standard probabilities.
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  39. Popper on Probability.Jozef Katina - 2010 - Filozofia 65 (4):343-355.
    One part of the paper is devoted to frequency interpretation, as advocated by early K. Popper. However, the main subject of the paper is Popper’s own propensity interpretation of probability. It outlines the fundamental principles of the propensity interpretation, as well as its relation to quantum theory and its various variants. In conclusion it examines the so called Humpreys’s paradox as related to the interpretation of causality in the frame of Popper’s propensity interpretation.
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  40. Chance in the Everett interpretation.Simon Saunders - 2010 - In Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory & Reality. Oxford University Press.
    According to the Everett interpretation, branching structure and ratios of norms of branch amplitudes are the objective correlates of chance events and chances; that is, 'chance' and 'chancing', like 'red' and 'colour', pick out objective features of reality, albeit not what they seemed. Once properly identified, questions about how and in what sense chances can be observed can be treated as straightforward dynamical questions. On that basis, given the unitary dynamics of quantum theory, it follows that relative and never absolute (...)
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  41. Probability, rational single-case decisions and the Monty Hall Problem.Jan Sprenger - 2010 - Synthese 174 (3):331-340.
    The application of probabilistic arguments to rational decisions in a single case is a contentious philosophical issue which arises in various contexts. Some authors (e.g. Horgan, Philos Pap 24:209–222, 1995; Levy, Synthese 158:139–151, 2007) affirm the normative force of probabilistic arguments in single cases while others (Baumann, Am Philos Q 42:71–79, 2005; Synthese 162:265–273, 2008) deny it. I demonstrate that both sides do not give convincing arguments for their case and propose a new account of the relationship between probabilistic reasoning (...)
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  42. Probabilities, Causes and Propensities in Physics.Mauricio Suárez - 2010 - New York: Springer.
    Table of Contents: Preface.- 1. Introduction; Mauricio Suárez.- PART I: PROBABILITIES.- 2. Probability and time symmetry in classical Markov processes; Guido Bacciagaluppi.- 3. Probability assignments and the principle of indifference: An examination of two eliminative strategies; Sorin Bangu.- 4. Why typicality does not explain the approach to equilibrium; Roman Frigg; PART II: CAUSES.- 5. From metaphysics to physics and back: The example of causation; Federico Laudisa.- 6. On explanation in retro-causal interpretations of quantum mechanics; Joseph Berkovitz.- 7. Causal completeness in (...)
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  43. Probabilities, Causes and Propensities in Physics.Mauricio Suárez (ed.) - 2010 - New York: Springer.
    This volume defends a novel approach to the philosophy of physics: it is the first book devoted to a comparative study of probability, causality, and propensity, and their various interrelations, within the context of contemporary physics -- particularly quantum and statistical physics. The philosophical debates and distinctions are firmly grounded upon examples from actual physics, thus exemplifying a robustly empiricist approach. The essays, by both prominent scholars in the field and promising young researchers, constitute a pioneer effort in bringing out (...)
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  44. What Fitness Can’t Be.André Ariew & Zachary Ernst - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (3):289-301.
    Recently advocates of the propensity interpretation of fitness have turned critics. To accommodate examples from the population genetics literature they conclude that fitness is better defined broadly as a family of propensities rather than the propensity to contribute descendants to some future generation. We argue that the propensity theorists have misunderstood the deeper ramifications of the examples they cite. These examples demonstrate why there are factors outside of propensities that determine fitness. We go on to argue for the more general (...)
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  45. Leaving Things to Take their Chances: Cause and Disposition Grounded in Chance.Stephen Barker - 2009 - In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press ;. pp. 100-126.
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  46. Simplicius and James of Viterbo on Propensities.Antoine Côté - 2009 - Vivarium 47 (1):24-53.
    The paper examines Simplicius's doctrine of propensities in his commentary on Aristotle's Categories and follows its application by the late thirteenth century theologian and philosopher James of Viterbo to problems relating to the causes of volition, intellection and natural change. Although he uses Aristotelian terminology and means his doctrine to conflict minimally with those of Aristotle, James's doctrine of propensities really constitutes an attempt to provide a technically rigorous dressing to his Augustinian and Boethian convictions. Central to James's procedure is (...)
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  47. Propensities.Lars-Göran Johansson - 2009 - In Lars-Göran Johansson, Jan Österberg & Rysiek Sliwinski (eds.), Logic, Ethics and All That Jazz: Essays in Honour of Jordan Howard Sobel. Uppsala University.
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  48. Logic, Ethics and All That Jazz: Essays in Honour of Jordan Howard Sobel.Lars-Göran Johansson, Jan Österberg & Rysiek Śliwiński (eds.) - 2009 - Uppsala: Dept. Of Philosophy, Uppsala University.
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  49. The propensity theory: a decision-theoretic restatement.M. Albert - 2007 - Synthese 156 (3):587-603.
    Probability theory is important because of its relevance for decision making, which also means: its relevance for the single case. The propensity theory of objective probability, which addresses the single case, is subject to two problems: Humphreys’ problem of inverse probabilities and the problem of the reference class. The paper solves both problems by restating the propensity theory using (an objectivist version of) Pearl’s approach to causality and probability, and by applying a decision-theoretic perspective. Contrary to a widely held view, (...)
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  50. Propensities and probabilities.Nuel Belnap - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (3):593-625.
    Popper’s introduction of ‘‘propensity’’ was intended to provide a solid conceptual foundation for objective single-case probabilities. By considering the partly opposed contributions of Humphreys and Miller and Salmon, it is argued that when properly understood, propensities can in fact be understood as objective single-case causal probabilities of transitions between concrete events. The chief claim is that propensities are well-explicated by describing how they fit into the existing formal theory of branching space-times, which is simultaneously indeterministic and causal. Several problematic examples, (...)
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