Randomness Is Unpredictability

Abstract
The concept of randomness has been unjustly neglected in recent philosophical literature, and when philosophers have thought about it, they have usually acquiesced in views about the concept that are fundamentally flawed. After indicating the ways in which these accounts are flawed, I propose that randomness is to be understood as a special case of the epistemic concept of the unpredictability of a process. This proposal arguably captures the intuitive desiderata for the concept of randomness; at least it should suggest that the commonly accepted accounts cannot be the whole story and more philosophical attention needs to be paid. Randomness in science1.1 Random systems1.2 Random behaviour1.3 Random sampling1.4 Caprice, arbitrariness and noiseConcepts of randomness2.1 Von Mises/Church/Martin-Löf randomness2.2 KCS-randomnessRandomness is unpredictability: preliminaries3.1 Process and product randomness3.2 Randomness is indeterminism?Predictability4.1 Epistemic constraints on prediction4.2 Computational constraints on prediction4.3 Pragmatic constraints on prediction4.4 Prediction definedUnpredictabilityRandomness is unpredictability6.1 Clarification of the definition of randomness6.2 Randomness and probability6.3 Subjectivity and context sensitivity of randomnessEvaluating the analysis[R]andomness … is going to be a concept which is relative to our body of knowledge, which will somehow reflect what we know and what we don't know. Henry E. Kyburg, Jr ([1974], p. 217)Phenomena that we cannot predict must be judged random. Patrick Suppes ([1984], p. 32)
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Citations of this work BETA
Robert Williams (2008). Chances, Counterfactuals, and Similarity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):385-420.
Charlotte Werndl (2009). What Are the New Implications of Chaos for Unpredictability? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (1):195-220.
J. Robert G. Williams (2008). Chances, Counterfactuals, and Similarity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):385 - 420.
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