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Summary Perhaps the most natural way to understand probability is as an epistemic phenomenon. A probability function is an attempt to quantify a degree of uncertainty -- a state of mind. But some probabilities appear to be objective features of the world. A well constructed die has a probability of one in six that it will land on any given side, for instance. Such objective probabilities, or chances, explain why events happen with typical frequencies, while they cannot be predicted with certainty on any given trial. Philosophical controversies primarily arise regarding: the relationship between chances and epistemic states (under what circumstances should our degree of confidence match the chance, and why?); and also regarding the relationship between chances and frequencies (if chances are not reducible to frequencies, how do they explain those frequencies?).
Key works Popper 1959 puts forth the propensity interpretation of probability, which has been an influential way of understanding chances; Lewis 1980 focuses upon epistemic aspects of chance, and is the focus of much literature relating to Humeanism and chance; Loewer 2004 is a helpful paper further exploring Lewis's metaphysics of chance; Albert 2000 discusses the time asymmetry of chance and its relation to temporal symmetries in physics.
Introductions Consult Handfield 2012 for an exclusive focus upon chance; Hájek 2008 is about broader topic of probability, but has much that is of relevance to chance; Eagle 2010 contains many classic papers.
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  1. C. J. Adcock (1928). Law and Chance. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):210 – 212.
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  2. Fred Attneave (1953). Psychological Probability as a Function of Experienced Frequency. Journal of Experimental Psychology 46 (2):81.
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  3. Vilhelm Aubert (1959). Chance in Social Affairs. Inquiry 2 (1-4):1 – 24.
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  4. Larry Azar (1969). Life, Atoms, Chance. New Scholasticism 43 (1):185-187.
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  5. Stephen Barker (2009). Leaving Things to Take Their Chances : Cause and Disposition Grounded in Chance. In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes. Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press ;.
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  6. Jeffrey A. Barrett (1995). Review of I. Ekeland, The Broken Dice, and Other Mathematical Tales of Chance. [REVIEW] Philosophia Mathematica 3 (3):310-313.
  7. Martin Barrett (2010). The Possibility of Infinitesimal Chances. In Ellery Eells & James H. Fetzer (eds.), The Place of Probability in Science. Springer. 65--79.
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  8. Robert Batterman (1995). Physics and Chance. Philosophical Review 104 (4):624-627.
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  9. Lee R. Beach & Richard W. Shoenberger (1965). Event Salience and Response Frequency on a ten-Alternative Probability-Learning Situation. Journal of Experimental Psychology 69 (3):312.
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  10. Helen Beebee (1998). Do Causes Raise the Chances of Effects? Analysis 58 (3):182–190.
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  11. Claus Beisbart (2004). Richard Johns, A Theory of Physical Probability Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 24 (1):34-36.
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  12. Claus Beisbart (2004). Richard Johns, A Theory of Physical Probability. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 24:34-36.
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  13. Robert C. Bishop, Determinism and Indeterminism.
    Determinism is a rich and varied concept. At an abstract level of analysis, Jordan Howard Sobel (1998) identifies at least ninety varieties of what determinism could be like. When it comes to thinking about what deterministic laws and theories in physical sciences might be like, the situation is much clearer. There is a criterion by which to judge whether a law–expressed as some form of equation–is deterministic. A theory would then be deterministic just in case all its laws taken as (...)
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  14. Richard J. Blackwell (1984). Philosophical Foundations of Probability Theory. By Roy Weatherford. Modern Schoolman 62 (1):70-71.
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  15. Arcady Blinov (1994). Semantic Games with Chance Moves. Synthese 99 (3):311 - 327.
    In the presence of chance moves in a semantical game, the existence of pure optimal strategies does not guarantee the existence of winning ones. This fact provides a basis for constructing supervaluational semantical games with a chance move. Additional possibilities of using chance moves in game-theoretical semantics are also discussed.
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  16. Józef M. Bocheński (2004). Even Without Chances for Victory. Dialogue and Universalism 14 (7-9):73-78.
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  17. D. M. Borchert (ed.) (2006). Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Second Edition.
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  18. Bryson Brown (2000). An Empty Refinement in Mellor's Definition of Chances. Analysis 60 (3):238–243.
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  19. G. Brown & G. B. Keene (1957). Randomness. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 31:145-160.
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  20. W. Büchel (1975). Statistische Wahrscheinlichkeit Und Statistische Physik. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 6 (1):7-18.
    W. Stegmüller sees the decisive difficulty of the Laplacean interpretation of Carnaps probability in the lack of the required equiprobable possibilities. It is argued that the required equiprobabilities in physics are given by statistical mechanics and can easily be transferred from physics to general statistical problems.
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  21. Arthur W. Burks (1979). Chance, Cause, Reason: An Inquiry Into the Nature of Scientific Evidence. Philosophical Review 88 (3):500-502.
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  22. H. W. Capel, J. S. Cramer, O. Estevez-Uscanga, C. A. J. Klaassen & G. J. Mellenbergh (eds.) (2002). Chance and Uncertainty. Amsterdam University Press.
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  23. Rudolf Carnap (1963). The Logical Foundations of Probability. Journal of Philosophy 60 (13):362-364.
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  24. John L. Casti (2001). Rooting Out Randomness. Complexity 6 (4):13-15.
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  25. Robert Charles Clark (1970). Total Control and Chance in Musics. Part II. Reflections on Criticism and Judgment. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 29 (1):43-46.
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  26. Carol E. Cleland (1985). Causality, Chance and Weak Non-Super Venience. American Philosophical Quarterly 22 (4):287 - 298.
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  27. John Cohen (1960). Chance, Skill, and Luck. Baltimore, Penguin Books.
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  28. Arthur H. Copeland (1962). Statistical Induction and the Foundations of Probability. Theoria 28 (2):87-109.
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  29. D. Costantini (1985). Probability and Laws. Erkenntnis 22 (1-3):33 - 49.
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  30. P. G. de Gennes (1977). Chance and Necessity in Cooperative Phenomena. Diogenes 25 (100):198-217.
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  31. Agustin de Herrera & Sven K. Knebel (1996). A Treatise on Aleatory Probability. Modern Schoolman 73 (3):199-264.
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  32. Arthur Dewing (1910). Chance as a Category of Science. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 7 (3):70-73.
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  33. Phil Dowe (2003). A Dilemma for Objective Chance. In Jr Kyburg & Mariam Thalos (eds.), Probability is the Very Guide of Life: The Philosophical Uses of Chance. Open Court. 153--64.
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  34. Antony Eagle, Frequency, Laws, and Time-Dependent Chances.
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  35. Ralph M. Eaton (1921). The Meaning of Chance. The Monist 31 (2):280-296.
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  36. Brian Ellis (1999). A Review Essay on God, Chance & Necessity. Sophia 38 (1):89-98.
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  37. Douglas Fawcett (1927). Chance and Creation. Mind 36 (142):261-262.
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  38. Milton Fisk (1980). Chance, Cause, Reason. International Studies in Philosophy 12 (1):93-95.
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  39. Henry J. Folse (1997). Physics and Chance. International Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):150-151.
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  40. Roman Frigg, Probability in Boltzmannian Statistical Mechanics.
    In two recent papers Barry Loewer (2001, 2004) has suggested to interpret probabilities in statistical mechanics as Humean chances in David Lewis’ (1994) sense. I first give a precise formulation of this proposal, then raise two fundamental objections, and finally conclude that these can be overcome only at the price of interpreting these probabilities epistemically.
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  41. Maria Carla Galavotti (1987). Comments on Patrick Suppes “Propensity Interpretations of Probability”. Erkenntnis 26 (3):359 - 368.
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  42. Christopher Gauker (1987). Mind and Chance. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 17 (September):533-52.
  43. Quentin Gibson (1953). Argument From Chances. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 31 (3):170 – 183.
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  44. Ronald N. Giere (2010). Objective Single-Case Probabilities and the Foundations of Statistics. In Antony Eagle (ed.), Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings. Routledge.
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  45. Gerd Gigerenzer (1989). The Empire of Chance How Probability Changed Science and Everyday Life. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  46. Leon J. Goldstein (1978). Purpose in a World of Chance. International Studies in Philosophy 10:206-206.
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  47. Paulos Mar Gregorios (1992). Method and Epistemology in Science: Some Counter-Comments on Chance. In Jayant Vishnu Narlikar, Indu Banga & Chhanda Gupta (eds.), Philosophy of Science: Perspectives From Natural and Social Sciences. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. 137.
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  48. L. Groot (2000). Roger Caillois, Games of Chance and the Superstar. Diogenes 48 (190):33-42.
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  49. G. J. Gustafson (1950). A Note on Chance. New Scholasticism 24 (2):174-177.
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  50. John Haigh (2006). What Are Your Chances? Think 4 (12):37-42.
    John Haigh provides us with some mind-expanding puzzles concerning probabilities.
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