Instrumental Probability

The Monist 84 (2):284-300 (2001)
The claims of science and the claims of probability combine in two ways. In one, probability is part of the content of science, as in statistical mechanics and quantum theory and an enormous range of "models" developed in applied statistics. In the other, probability is the tool used to explain and to justify methods of inference from records of observations, as in every science from psychiatry to physics. These intimacies between science and probability are logical sports, for while we think science aims to say what happens, what has happened, what will happen, what would happen if other things were to happen, what could and could not happen, what will nearly happen, or what will approximate what will happen, probability claims say none of these things, or at least none of them about the phenomena with which science is concerned. On that, at least, almost all philosophical interpreters of probability since DeMoivre agree, with whatever reluctance. Consider some examples.
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