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Unsharp Humean Chances in Statistical Physics: A Reply to Beisbart

In M. C. Galavotti (ed.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 531-542 (2014)

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  1. New Work for a Theory of Universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
  • New Work For a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - In D. H. Mellor & Alex Oliver (eds.), Properties. Oxford University Press.
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  • Determinism and Chance From a Humean Perspective.Roman Frigg & Carl Hoefer - 2010 - In Friedrich Stadler, Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao González, Hartmann J., Uebel Stephan, Weber Thomas & Marcel (eds.), The Present Situation in the Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 351--72.
    On the face of it ‘deterministic chance’ is an oxymoron: either an event is chancy or deterministic, but not both. Nevertheless, the world is rife with events that seem to be exactly that: chancy and deterministic at once. Simple gambling devices like coins and dice are cases in point. On the one hand they are governed by deterministic laws – the laws of classical mechanics – and hence given the initial condition of, say, a coin toss it is determined whether (...)
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  • Can Conditioning on the “Past Hypothesis” Militate Against the Reversibility Objections?Eric Winsberg - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (4):489-504.
    In his recent book, Time and Chance, David Albert claims that by positing that there is a uniform probability distribution defined, on the standard measure, over the space of microscopic states that are compatible with both the current macrocondition of the world, and with what he calls the “past hypothesis”, we can explain the time asymmetry of all of the thermodynamic behavior in the world. The principal purpose of this paper is to dispute this claim. I argue that Albert's proposal (...)
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  • Determinism and Chance.Barry Loewer - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (4):609-620.
    It is generally thought that objective chances for particular events different from 1 and 0 and determinism are incompatible. However, there are important scientific theories whose laws are deterministic but which also assign non-trivial probabilities to events. The most important of these is statistical mechanics whose probabilities are essential to the explanations of thermodynamic phenomena. These probabilities are often construed as 'ignorance' probabilities representing our lack of knowledge concerning the microstate. I argue that this construal is incompatible with the role (...)
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  • Why is There Anything Except Physics?Barry Loewer - 2008 - In Jakob Hohwy & Jesper Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford University Press.
  • Physics and Chance.David Albert - 2012 - In Yemima Ben-Menahem & Meir Hemmo (eds.), Probability in Physics. Springer. pp. 17--40.
  • The Best Humean System for Statistical Mechanics.Roman Frigg & Carl Hoefer - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):551-574.
    Classical statistical mechanics posits probabilities for various events to occur, and these probabilities seem to be objective chances. This does not seem to sit well with the fact that the theory’s time evolution is deterministic. We argue that the tension between the two is only apparent. We present a theory of Humean objective chance and show that chances thus understood are compatible with underlying determinism and provide an interpretation of the probabilities we find in Boltzmannian statistical mechanics.
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  • David Lewis’s Humean Theory of Objective Chance.Barry Loewer - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1115--25.
    The most important theories in fundamental physics, quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics, posit objective probabilities or chances. As important as chance is there is little agreement about what it is. The usual “interpretations of probability” give very different accounts of chance and there is disagreement concerning which, if any, is capable of accounting for its role in physics. David Lewis has contributed enormously to improving this situation. In his classic paper “A Subjectivist's Guide to Objective Chance” he described a framework (...)
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  • A Defense of Imprecise Credences in Inference and Decision Making1.James M. Joyce - 2010 - Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):281-323.
  • Humean Supervenience Debugged.David Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.
    Tn this paper I explore and to an extent defend HS. The main philosophical challenges to HS come from philosophical views that say that nomic concepts-laws, chance, and causation-denote features of the world that fail to supervene on non-nomic features. Lewis rejects these views and has labored mightily to construct HS accounts of nomic concepts. His account of laws is fundamental to his program, since his accounts of the other nomic notions rely on it. Recently, a number of philosophers have (...)
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  • Counterfactuals and the Second Law.Barry Loewer - 2007 - In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press.
  • Infinitesimal Chances and the Laws of Nature.Adam Elga - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):67 – 76.
    The 'best-system' analysis of lawhood [Lewis 1994] faces the 'zero-fit problem': that many systems of laws say that the chance of history going actually as it goes--the degree to which the theory 'fits' the actual course of history--is zero. Neither an appeal to infinitesimal probabilities nor a patch using standard measure theory avoids the difficulty. But there is a way to avoid it: replace the notion of 'fit' with the notion of a world being typical with respect to a theory.
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  • Two Accounts of Laws and Time.Barry Loewer - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):115-137.
    Among the most important questions in the metaphysics of science are "What are the natures of fundamental laws and chances?" and "What grounds the direction of time?" My aim in this paper is to examine some connections between these questions, discuss two approaches to answering them and argue in favor of one. Along the way I will raise and comment on a number of issues concerning the relationship between physics and metaphysics and consequences for the subject matter and methodology of (...)
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  • Why There Is Anything Except Physics.Barry Loewer - 2008 - In Jakob Hohwy & Jesper Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford University Press.
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  • Deterministic Chance.Luke Glynn - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):51–80.
    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 (...)
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  • Deterministic Chance?Jonathan Schaffer - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2):113-140.
    Can there be deterministic chance? That is, can there be objective chance values other than 0 or 1, in a deterministic world? I will argue that the answer is no. In a deterministic world, the only function that can play the role of chance is one that outputs just Os and 1s. The role of chance involves connections from chance to credence, possibility, time, intrinsicness, lawhood, and causation. These connections do not allow for deterministic chance.
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  • What Could Be Objective About Probabilities?Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (2):275-291.
  • The Past Histories of Molecules.Craig Callender - 2011 - In Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics. Oxford University Press. pp. 83--113.
    This chapter unfolds a central philosophical problem of statistical mechanics. This problem lies in a clash between the Static Probabilities offered by statistical mechanics and the Dynamic Probabilities provided by classical or quantum mechanics. The chapter looks at the Boltzmann and Gibbs approaches in statistical mechanics and construes some of the great controversies in the field — for instance the Reversibility Paradox — as instances of this conflict. It furthermore argues that a response to this conflict is a critical choice (...)
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  • The “Past Hypothesis”: Not Even False.John Earman - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (3):399-430.
    It has become something of a dogma in the philosophy of science that modern cosmology has completed Boltzmann's program for explaining the statistical validity of the Second Law of thermodynamics by providing the low entropy initial state needed to ground the asymmetry in entropic behavior that underwrites our inference about the past. This dogma is challenged on several grounds. In particular, it is argued that it is likely that the Boltzmann entropy of the initial state of the universe is an (...)
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