On higher-order and free-floating chances

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):691-707 (2006)
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Abstract

considers what I call free-floating chances—objective chances that obtain at a given time despite the fact that their values are not determined by the laws of nature together with the full history of non-chancy facts up to that time. I offer an intuitive example of this phenomenon, and use it to argue that free-floating chances are indeed possible. Their possibility violates three quite widely held principles about chances: the lawful magnitude principle, the principle that chances evolve by conditionalization and a version of David Lewis' principal principle. I argue that we should reject common formulations of each of these principles, though I offer revised understandings of each which retain much of the intuitive attractiveness of the originals and are consistent with the possibility of free-floating chances. I conclude by arguing that, while considerations of free-floating chances are important, they will not sustain the extravagant conclusions Lange attempts to draw from them. Introduction First- and Higher-Order Chances Free-Floating Chances Support for the Intuitive Assessment Three Principles Violated What to do? COND as a Default Hypothesis A More Principled Principal Principle Conclusion.

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Justin Fisher
Southern Methodist University

Citations of this work

The Metaphysics of Chance.Rachael Briggs - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (11):938-952.
Justifying Lewis’s Kinematics of Chance.Patryk Dziurosz-Serafinowicz - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2):439-463.

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References found in this work

Humean Supervenience Debugged.David Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.
A subjectivist’s guide to objective chance.David K. Lewis - 1980 - In Richard C. Jeffrey (ed.), Studies in Inductive Logic and Probability, Volume II. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 263-293.
Principled chances.Jonathan Schaffer - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (1):27-41.
Do chances receive equal treatment under the laws? Or: Must chances be probabilities?Marc Lange - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):383-403.

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