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  1. An Empirical Approach to Symmetry and Probability.Jill North - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):27-40.
    We often use symmetries to infer outcomes’ probabilities, as when we infer that each side of a fair coin is equally likely to come up on a given toss. Why are these inferences successful? I argue against answering this with an a priori indifference principle. Reasons to reject that principle are familiar, yet instructive. They point to a new, empirical explanation for the success of our probabilistic predictions. This has implications for indifference reasoning in general. I argue that a priori (...)
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  • Deterministic Chance.Antony Eagle - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):269 - 299.
    I sketch a new constraint on chance, which connects chance ascriptions closely with ascriptions of ability, and more specifically with 'CAN'-claims. This connection between chance and ability has some claim to be a platitude; moreover, it exposes the debate over deterministic chance to the extensive literature on (in)compatibilism about free will. The upshot is that a prima facie case for the tenability of deterministic chance can be made. But the main thrust of the paper is to draw attention to the (...)
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  • "Undermined" Undermined.Carl Hoefer - manuscript
    In a recent article, Gordon Belot uses the so-called undermining phenomenon to try to raise a new difficulty for reductive accounts of objective probability, such as Humean Best System accounts. In this paper I will give a critical discussion of Belot’s paper and argue that, in fact, there is no new difficulty here for chance reductionists to address.
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  • Counterfactual Triviality: A Lewis-Impossibility Argument for Counterfactuals.Robert Williams - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (3):648-670.
    I formulate a counterfactual version of the notorious 'Ramsey Test'. Whereas the Ramsey Test for indicative conditionals links credence in indicatives to conditional credences, the counterfactual version links credence in counterfactuals to expected conditional chance. I outline two forms: a Ramsey Identity on which the probability of the conditional should be identical to the corresponding conditional probabihty/expectation of chance; and a Ramsey Bound on which credence in the conditional should never exceed the latter.Even in the weaker, bound, form, the counterfactual (...)
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  • Who's Afraid of Undermining?Peter B. M. Vranas - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (2):151-174.
    The Principal Principle (PP) says that, for any proposition A, given any admissible evidence and the proposition that the chance of A is x%, one's conditional credence in A should be x%. Humean Supervenience (HS) claims that, among possible worlds like ours, no two differ without differing in the spacetime-point-by-spacetime-point arrangement of local properties. David Lewis (1986b, 1994a) has argued that PP contradicts HS, and the validity of his argument has been endorsed by Bigelow et al. (1993), Thau (1994), Hall (...)
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  • Philosophy of the Physical Sciences.Chris Smeenk & Hoefer Carl - 2015 - In Paul Humphreys (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    The authors survey some debates about the nature and structure of physical theories and about the connections between our physical theories and naturalized metaphysics. The discussion is organized around an “ideal view” of physical theories and criticisms that can be raised against it. This view includes controversial commitments regarding the best analysis of physical modalities and intertheory relations. The authors consider the case in favor of taking laws as the primary modal notion, discussing objections related to alleged violations of the (...)
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  • Unsharp Humean Chances in Statistical Physics: A Reply to Beisbart.Luke Glynn, Radin Dardashti, Karim P. Y. Thebault & Mathias Frisch - 2014 - In M. C. Galavotti (ed.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 531-542.
    In an illuminating article, Claus Beisbart argues that the recently-popular thesis that the probabilities of statistical mechanics (SM) are Best System chances runs into a serious obstacle: there is no one axiomatization of SM that is robustly best, as judged by the theoretical virtues of simplicity, strength, and fit. Beisbart takes this 'no clear winner' result to imply that the probabilities yielded by the competing axiomatizations simply fail to count as Best System chances. In this reply, we express sympathy for (...)
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  • An Empiricist's Guide to Objective Modality.Jenann Ismael - 2017 - In Matthew Slater & Zanja Yudell (eds.), Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science: New Essays. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 109-125.
    In this paper, I defend an empiricist account of modality that keeps a substantive account of modal commitment, but throws out the metaphysics. I suggest that if we pair a deflationary attitude toward representation with a substantive account of how scientific models are constructed and put to use, the result is an account that deflates the metaphysics of modal commitment without deflating the content of modal claims.
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  • Did the Universe Have a Chance?C. D. McCoy - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science 86 (5).
    In a world awash in statistical patterns, should we conclude that the universe’s evolution or genesis is somehow subject to chance? I draw attention to alternatives that must be acknowledged if we are to have an adequate assessment of what chance the universe might have had.
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  • Probability in GRW Theory.Roman Frigg & Carl Hoefer - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (2):371-389.
    GRW Theory postulates a stochastic mechanism assuring that every so often the wave function of a quantum system is `hit', which leaves it in a localised state. How are we to interpret the probabilities built into this mechanism? GRW theory is a firmly realist proposal and it is therefore clear that these probabilities are objective probabilities (i.e. chances). A discussion of the major theories of chance leads us to the conclusion that GRW probabilities can be understood only as either single (...)
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  • Quantum Mechanics in a Time-Asymmetric Universe: On the Nature of the Initial Quantum State.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy068.
    In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, we postulate a low-entropy boundary condition to account for the temporal asymmetry. In this paper, I show that the Past Hypothesis also contains enough information to simplify the quantum ontology and define a unique initial condition in such a world. First, I introduce Density Matrix Realism, the thesis that the quantum universe is described by a fundamental density matrix that represents something objective. This stands in sharp contrast to Wave Function (...)
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  • Evidence and Uncertainty in Everett's Multiverse.Paul Tappenden - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):99-123.
    How does it come about then, that great scientists such as Einstein, Schrödinger and De Broglie are nevertheless dissatisfied with the situation? Of course, all these objections are levelled not against the correctness of the formulae, but against their interpretation. [...] The lesson to be learned from what I have told of the origin of quantum mechanics is that probable refinements of mathematical methods will not suffice to produce a satisfactory theory, but that somewhere in our doctrine is hidden a (...)
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  • Deterministic Chance?J. 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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  • Do Chances Receive Equal Treatment Under the Laws? Or: Must Chances Be Probabilities?Marc Lange - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):383-403.
    I offer an argument regarding chances that appears to yield a dilemma: either the chances at time t must be determined by the natural laws and the history through t of instantiations of categorical properties, or the function ch(•) assigning chances need not satisfy the axioms of probability. The dilemma's first horn might seem like a remnant of determinism. On the other hand, this horn might be inspired by our best scientific theories. In addition, it is entailed by the familiar (...)
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  • Contemporary Approaches to Statistical Mechanical Probabilities: A Critical Commentary - Part I: The Indifference Approach.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1116-1126.
    This pair of articles provides a critical commentary on contemporary approaches to statistical mechanical probabilities. These articles focus on the two ways of understanding these probabilities that have received the most attention in the recent literature: the epistemic indifference approach, and the Lewis-style regularity approach. These articles describe these approaches, highlight the main points of contention, and make some attempts to advance the discussion. The first of these articles provides a brief sketch of statistical mechanics, and discusses the indifference approach (...)
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  • Laws and Chances in Statistical Mechanics.Eric Winsberg - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (4):872-888.
  • Fine-Tuning in the Context of Bayesian Theory Testing.Luke Barnes - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (2):253-269.
    Fine-tuning in physics and cosmology is often used as evidence that a theory is incomplete. For example, the parameters of the standard model of particle physics are “unnaturally” small, which has driven much of the search for physics beyond the standard model. Of particular interest is the fine-tuning of the universe for life, which suggests that our universe’s ability to create physical life forms is improbable and in need of explanation, perhaps by a multiverse. This claim has been challenged on (...)
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  • Statistical Mechanical Imperialism.Brad Weslake - forthcoming - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press.
    I argue against the claim, advanced by David Albert and Barry Loewer, that all non-fundamental laws can be derived from those required to underwrite the second law of thermodynamics.
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  • Two Mistakes Regarding the Principal Principle.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (2):407-431.
    This paper examines two mistakes regarding David Lewis’ Principal Principle that have appeared in the recent literature. These particular mistakes are worth looking at for several reasons: The thoughts that lead to these mistakes are natural ones, the principles that result from these mistakes are untenable, and these mistakes have led to significant misconceptions regarding the role of admissibility and time. After correcting these mistakes, the paper discusses the correct roles of time and admissibility. With these results in hand, the (...)
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  • Time's Arrow in a Quantum Universe: On the Status of Statistical Mechanical Probabilities.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific.
    In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, it is standard to postulate that the initial wave function started in a particular macrostate---the special low-entropy macrostate selected by the Past Hypothesis. Moreover, there is an additional postulate about statistical mechanical probabilities according to which the initial wave function is a ''typical'' choice in the macrostate. Together, they support a probabilistic version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: typical initial wave functions will increase in entropy. Hence, there are two (...)
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  • Quantum States of a Time-Asymmetric Universe: Wave Function, Density Matrix, and Empirical Equivalence.Eddy Keming Chen - unknown
    What is the quantum state of the universe? Although there have been several interesting suggestions, the question remains open. In this paper, I consider a natural choice for the universal quantum state arising from the Past Hypothesis, a boundary condition that accounts for the time-asymmetry of the universe. The natural choice is given not by a wave function but by a density matrix. I begin by classifying quantum theories into two types: theories with a fundamental wave function and theories with (...)
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  • 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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  • Subjective Probability and Quantum Certainty.Carlton M. Caves, Christopher A. Fuchs & Rüdiger Schack - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (2):255-274.
  • Special Sciences, Conspiracy and the Better Best System Account of Lawhood.Jonathan Cohen & Craig Callender - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (3):427 - 447.
    An important obstacle to lawhood in the special sciences is the worry that such laws would require metaphysically extravagant conspiracies among fundamental particles. How, short of conspiracy, is this possible? In this paper we'll review a number of strategies that allow for the projectibility of special science generalizations without positing outlandish conspiracies: non-Humean pluralism, classical MRL theories of laws, and Albert and Loewer's theory. After arguing that none of the above fully succeed, we consider the conspiracy problem through the lens (...)
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  • Must the Fundamental Laws of Physics Be Complete?Marc Lange - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (2):312-345.
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  • Counterfactuals, Probabilities, and Information: Response to Critics.Aaron Meskin & Jonathan Cohen - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):635 – 642.
    In earlier work we proposed an account of information grounded in counterfactual conditionals rather than probabilities, and argued that it might serve philosophical needs that more familiar probabilistic alternatives do not. Demir [2008] and Scarantino [2008] criticize the counterfactual approach by contending that its alleged advantages are illusory and that it fails to secure attractive desiderata. In this paper we defend the counterfactual account from these criticisms, and suggest that it remains a useful account of information.
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  • An Objective Counterfactual Theory of Information.Jonathan Cohen & Aaron Meskin - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (3):333 – 352.
    We offer a novel theory of information that differs from traditional accounts in two respects: (i) it explains information in terms of counterfactuals rather than conditional probabilities, and (ii) it does not make essential reference to doxastic states of subjects, and consequently allows for the sort of objective, reductive explanations of various notions in epistemology and philosophy of mind that many have wanted from an account of information.
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  • Undermined.Gordon Belot - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):781-791.
    ABSTRACTA popular strategy for understanding the probabilities that arise in physics is to interpret them via reductionist accounts of chance—indeed, it is sometimes claimed that such accounts are uniquely well-suited to make sense of the probabilities in classical statistical mechanics. Here it is argued that reductionist accounts of chance carry a steep but unappreciated cost: when applied to physical theories of the relevant type, they inevitably distort the relations of probability that they take as input.
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  • Open Future and Modal Anti-Realism.Daniel Kodaj - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (2):1-22.
    Open future is incompatible with realism about possible worlds. Since realistically conceived (concrete or abstract) possible worlds are maximal in the sense that they contain/represent the full history of a possible spacetime, past and future included, if such a world is actual now, the future is fully settled now, which rules out openness. The kind of metaphysical indeterminacy required for open future is incompatible with the kind of maximality which is built into the concept of possible worlds. The paper discusses (...)
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  • Quantum Entanglement, Bohmian Mechanics, and Humean Supervenience.Elizabeth Miller - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (3):567-583.
    David Lewis is a natural target for those who believe that findings in quantum physics threaten the tenability of traditional metaphysical reductionism. Such philosophers point to allegedly holistic entities they take both to be the subjects of some claims of quantum mechanics and to be incompatible with Lewisian metaphysics. According to one popular argument, the non-separability argument from quantum entanglement, any realist interpretation of quantum theory is straightforwardly inconsistent with the reductive conviction that the complete physical state of the world (...)
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  • What is the Significance of the Intuition That Laws of Nature Govern?Susan Schneider - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):307-324.
    Recently, proponents of Humean Supervenience have challenged the plausibility of the intuition that the laws of nature ‘govern’, or guide, the evolution of events in the universe. Certain influential thought experiments authored by John Carroll, Michael Tooley, and others, rely strongly on such intuitions. These thought experiments are generally regarded as playing a central role in the lawhood debate, suggesting that the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis view of the laws of nature, and the related doctrine of the Humean Supervenience of laws, are false. (...)
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  • Principled Chances.Jonathan SchaAer - unknown
    There are at least three core principles that define the chance role: ill the Principal Principle, l21 the Basic Chance Principle, and l31 the Humean Principle. These principles seem mutually incompatible. At least, no extant account of chance meets more than one of them. I ofier an account of chance which meets all three: L~-chance. So the good news is that L~-chance meets ill — l31. The bad news is that L~-chance turns out unlawful and unstable. But perhaps this is (...)
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  • The Third Way on Objective Probability: A Sceptic's Guide to Objective Chance.Carl Hoefer - 2005 - Mind 116 (463):549-596.
    The goal of this paper is to sketch and defend a new interpretation or 'theory' of objective chance, one that lets us be sure such chances exist and shows how they can play the roles we traditionally grant them. The account is 'Humean' in claiming that objective chances supervene on the totality of actual events, but does not imply or presuppose a Humean approach to other metaphysical issues such as laws or causation. Like Lewis (1994) I take the Principal Principle (...)
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  • Humean Scientific Explanation.Elizabeth Miller - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1311-1332.
    In a recent paper, Barry Loewer attempts to defend Humeanism about laws of nature from a charge that Humean laws are not adequately explanatory. Central to his defense is a distinction between metaphysical and scientific explanations: even if Humeans cannot offer further metaphysical explanations of particular features of their “mosaic,” that does not preclude them from offering scientific explanations of these features. According to Marc Lange, however, Loewer’s distinction is of no avail. Defending a transitivity principle linking scientific explanantia to (...)
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  • Quantity and Quality: Naturalness in Metaphysics.M. Eddon - 2009 - Dissertation, Rutgers University
    Ever since David Lewis argued for the indispensibility of natural properties, they have become a staple of mainstream metaphysics. This dissertation is a critical examination of natural properties. What roles can natural properties play in metaphysics, and what structure do natural properties have? In the first half of the dissertation, I argue that natural properties cannot do all the work they are advertised to do. In the second half of the dissertation, I look at questions relating to the structure of (...)
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  • Chance and Determinism.Roman Frigg - 2016 - In .
    Determinism and chance seem to be irreconcilable opposites: either something is chancy or it is deterministic but not both. Yet there are processes which appear to square the circle by being chancy and deterministic at once, and the appearance is backed by well-confirmed scientific theories such as statistical mechanics which also seem to provide us with chances for deterministic processes. Is this possible, and if so how? In this essay I discuss this question for probabilities as they occur in the (...)
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  • Measure Theoretic Analysis of Consistency of the Principal Principle.Miklós Rédei & Zalán Gyenis - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):972-987.
    Weak and strong consistency of thePrincipal Principle are defined in terms of classical probability measure spaces. It is proved that the Abstract Principal Principle is both weakly and strongly consistent. The Abstract Principal Principle is strengthened by adding a stability requirement to it. Weak and strong consistency of the resulting Stable Abstract Principal Principle are defined. It is shown that the Stable Abstract Principal Principle is weakly consistent. Strong consistency of the Stable Abstract Principal principle remains an open question.
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  • Isolation and Folk Physics.Adam Elga - 2005 - In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press.
    There is a huge chasm between the notion of lawful determination that figures in fundamental physics, and the notion of causal determination that figures in the "folk physics" of everyday objects. In everyday life, we think of the behavior of an ordinary object as being determined by a small set of simple conditions. But in fundamental physics, no such conditions suffice to determine an ordinary object's behavior. What bridges the chasm is that fundamental physical laws make the folk picture of (...)
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  • Unsharp Best System Chances.Luke Fenton-Glynn - unknown
    Much recent philosophical attention has been devoted to variants on the Best System Analysis of laws and chance. In particular, philosophers have been interested in the prospects of such Best System Analyses for yielding *high-level* laws and chances. Nevertheless, a foundational worry about BSAs lurks: there do not appear to be uniquely appropriate measures of the degree to which a system exhibits theoretical virtues, such as simplicity and strength. Nor does there appear to be a uniquely correct exchange rate at (...)
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  • Physical Probability.Patrick Maher - unknown
    By “physical probability” I mean the empirical concept of probability in ordinary language. It can be represented as a function of an experiment type and an outcome type, which explains how non-extreme physical probabilities are compatible with determinism. Two principles, called specification and independence, put restrictions on the existence of physical probabilities, while a principle of direct inference connects physical probability with inductive probability. This account avoids a variety of weaknesses in the theories of Levi and Lewis.
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  • What is Probability?Patrick Maher - unknown
    In October 2009 I decided to stop doing philosophy. This meant, in particular, stopping work on the book that I was writing on the nature of probability. At that time, I had no intention of making my unfinished draft available to others. However, I recently noticed how many people are reading the lecture notes and articles on my web site. Since this draft book contains some important improvements on those materials, I decided to make it available to anyone who wants (...)
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  • Philosophy of Quantum Probability - An Empiricist Study of its Formalism and Logic.Ronnie Hermens - unknown
    The use of probability theory is widespread in our daily life as well as in scientific theories. In virtually all cases, calculations can be carried out within the framework of classical probability theory. A special exception is given by quantum mechanics, which gives rise to a new probability theory: quantum probability theory. This dissertation deals with the question of how this formalism can be understood from a philosophical and physical perspective. The dissertation is divided into three parts. In the first (...)
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  • How to Know That Time Travel Is Unlikely Without Knowing Why.Katrina Elliott - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (1):90-113.
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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.
  • 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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  • Probability and Manipulation: Evolution and Simulation in Applied Population Genetics.Marshall Abrams - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):519-549.
    I define a concept of causal probability and apply it to questions about the role of probability in evolutionary processes. Causal probability is defined in terms of manipulation of patterns in empirical outcomes by manipulating properties that realize objective probabilities. The concept of causal probability allows us see how probabilities characterized by different interpretations of probability can share a similar causal character, and does so in such way as to allow new inferences about relationships between probabilities realized in different chance (...)
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  • Calibration: Being in Tune with Frequencies.Carl Hoefer - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (3):435-452.
    Our beliefs can have, or fail to have, a significant epistemic virtue: they can be true. What about our partial beliefs – that is, credences or subjective probabilities? Is there an epistemic virtue that credences can have or fail to have, whose nature or role with respect to credences is analogous to the role that truth has with respect to full beliefs? Van Fraassen argued in the 1980s that there is indeed such an analog virtue, and he claimed that it (...)
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  • Mechanistic Probability.Marshall Abrams - 2012 - Synthese 187 (2):343-375.
    I describe a realist, ontologically objective interpretation of probability, "far-flung frequency (FFF) mechanistic probability". FFF mechanistic probability is defined in terms of facts about the causal structure of devices and certain sets of frequencies in the actual world. Though defined partly in terms of frequencies, FFF mechanistic probability avoids many drawbacks of well-known frequency theories and helps causally explain stable frequencies, which will usually be close to the values of mechanistic probabilities. I also argue that it's a virtue rather than (...)
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  • Probabilities as Ratios of Ranges in Initial-State Spaces.Jacob Rosenthal - 2012 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 21 (2):217-236.
    A proposal for an objective interpretation of probability is introduced and discussed: probabilities as deriving from ranges in suitably structured initial-state spaces. Roughly, the probability of an event on a chance trial is the proportion of initial states that lead to the event in question within the space of all possible initial states associated with this type of experiment, provided that the proportion is approximately the same in any not too small subregion of the space. This I would like to (...)
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  • Must the Fundamental Laws of Physics Be Complete?Marc Lange - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (2):312-345.
    The beauty of electricity, or of any other force, is not that the power is mysterious and unexpected, touching every sense at unawares in turn, but that it is under law... Michael Faraday, Wheatstone's Electric Telegraph's Relation to Science (being an argument in favour of the full recognition of Science as a branch of Education), 1854.
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