Louis Vervoort
Université du Québec à Montreal
In the following we will investigate whether von Mises’ frequency interpretation of probability can be modified to make it philosophically acceptable. We will reject certain elements of von Mises’ theory, but retain others. In the interpretation we propose we do not use von Mises’ often criticized ‘infinite collectives’ but we retain two essential claims of his interpretation, stating that probability can only be defined for events that can be repeated in similar conditions, and that exhibit frequency stabilization. The central idea of the present article is that the mentioned ‘conditions’ should be well-defined and ‘partitioned’. More precisely, we will divide probabilistic systems into object, initializing, and probing subsystem, and show that such partitioning allows to solve problems. Moreover we will argue that a key idea of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics (the determinant role of the observing system) can be seen as deriving from an analytic definition of probability as frequency. Thus a secondary aim of the article is to illustrate the virtues of analytic definition of concepts, consisting of making explicit what is implicit.
Keywords Interpretation of Probability  Frequency Interpretation  von Mises  Probability in physics  Probabilistic system
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
The Scientific Image.Michael Friedman - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):274-283.
Chasing Reality: Strife Over Realism.Mario Bunge - 2006 - University of Toronto Press.
Bell’s Theorem: Two Neglected Solutions.Louis Vervoort - 2013 - Foundations of Physics 43 (6):769-791.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Objective Probabilities in Number Theory.J. Ellenberg & E. Sober - 2011 - Philosophia Mathematica 19 (3):308-322.
Probability and Conditionals.Robert C. Stalnaker - 1970 - Philosophy of Science 37 (1):64-80.
Time and the Propensity Interpretation of Probability.Niall Shanks - 1993 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 24 (2):293 - 302.
Frequencies and Possibility.John Meixner - 1987 - Philosophy Research Archives 13:73-77.
A Theistic Conception of Probability.Richard Otte - 1987 - Faith and Philosophy 4 (4):427-447.


Added to PP index

Total views
1,298 ( #4,139 of 2,499,401 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
90 ( #8,141 of 2,499,401 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes