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The natural-range conception of probability

In Gerhard Ernst & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Time, Chance and Reduction: Philosophical Aspects of Statistical Mechanics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 71--90 (2009)

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  1. 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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  • A Subjectivist's Guide to Deterministic Chance.J. Dmitri Gallow - forthcoming - Synthese.
    I present an account of deterministic chance which builds upon the physico-mathematical approach to theorizing about deterministic chance known as 'the method of arbitrary functions'. This approach promisingly yields deterministic probabilities which align with what we take the chances to be---it tells us that there is approximately a 1/2 probability of a spun roulette wheel stopping on black, and approximately a 1/2 probability of a flipped coin landing heads up---but it requires some probabilistic materials to work with. I contend that (...)
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  • A Humean Guide to Spielraum Probabilities.Claus Beisbart - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):189-216.
    The most promising accounts of ontic probability include the Spielraum conception of probabilities, which can be traced back to J. von Kries and H. Poincaré, and the best system account by D. Lewis. This paper aims at comparing both accounts and at combining them to obtain the best of both worlds. The extensions of both Spielraum and best system probabilities do not coincide because the former only apply to systems with a special dynamics. Conversely, Spielraum probabilities may not be part (...)
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  • Entropy - A Guide for the Perplexed.Roman Frigg & Charlotte Werndl - 2011 - In Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics. Oxford University Press. pp. 115-142.
    Entropy is ubiquitous in physics, and it plays important roles in numerous other disciplines ranging from logic and statistics to biology and economics. However, a closer look reveals a complicated picture: entropy is defined differently in different contexts, and even within the same domain different notions of entropy are at work. Some of these are defined in terms of probabilities, others are not. The aim of this chapter is to arrive at an understanding of some of the most important notions (...)
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  • Probabilities in Statistical Mechanics.Wayne C. Myrvold - 2016 - In Christopher Hitchcock & Alan Hájek (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 573-600.
    This chapter will review selected aspects of the terrain of discussions about probabilities in statistical mechanics (with no pretensions to exhaustiveness, though the major issues will be touched upon), and will argue for a number of claims. None of the claims to be defended is entirely original, but all deserve emphasis. The first, and least controversial, is that probabilistic notions are needed to make sense of statistical mechanics. The reason for this is the same reason that convinced Maxwell, Gibbs, and (...)
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  • Probability Out Of Determinism.Michael Strevens - 2011 - In Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics. Oxford University Press. pp. 339--364.
    This paper offers a metaphysics of physical probability in (or if you prefer, truth conditions for probabilistic claims about) deterministic systems based on an approach to the explanation of probabilistic patterns in deterministic systems called the method of arbitrary functions. Much of the appeal of the method is its promise to provide an account of physical probability on which probability assignments have the ability to support counterfactuals about frequencies. It is argued that the eponymous arbitrary functions are of little philosophical (...)
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  • Causal Interpretations of Probability.Wolfgang Pietsch - unknown
    The prospects of a causal interpretation of probability are examined. Various accounts both from the history of scientific method and from recent developments in the tradition of the method of arbitrary functions, in particular by Strevens, Rosenthal, and Abrams, are briefly introduced and assessed. I then present a specific account of causal probability with the following features: First, the link between causal probability and a particular account of induction and causation is established, namely eliminative induction and the related difference-making account (...)
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  • Implications of Use of Wright’s FST for the Role of Probability and Causation in Evolution.Marshall Abrams - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (5):596-608.
    Sewall Wright ’s FST is a mathematical test widely used in empirical applications to characterize genetic and other differences between subpopulations, and to identify causes of those differences. Cockerham and Weir’s popular approach to statistical estimation of FST is based on an assumption sometimes formulated as a claim that actual populations tested are sampled from.
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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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  • 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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  • Explaining Drift From a Deterministic Setting.Pierrick Bourrat - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (1):27-38.
    Drift is often characterized in statistical terms. Yet such a purely statistical characterization is ambiguous for it can accept multiple physical interpretations. Because of this ambiguity it is important to distinguish what sorts of processes can lead to this statistical phenomenon. After presenting a physical interpretation of drift originating from the most popular interpretation of fitness, namely the propensity interpretation, I propose a different one starting from an analysis of the concept of drift made by Godfrey-Smith. Further on, I show (...)
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  • On Probabilities in Biology and Physics.Joseph Berkovitz & Philippe Huneman - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):433-456.
    This volume focuses on various questions concerning the interpretation of probability and probabilistic reasoning in biology and physics. It is inspired by the idea that philosophers of biology and philosophers of physics who work on the foundations of their disciplines encounter similar questions and problems concerning the role and application of probability, and that interaction between the two communities will be both interesting and fruitful. In this introduction we present the background to the main questions that the volume focuses on (...)
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  • Johannes von Kries’s Principien: A Brief Guide for the Perplexed.Sandy Zabell - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):131-150.
    This paper has the aim of making Johannes von Kries’s masterpiece, Die Principien der Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung of 1886, a little more accessible to the modern reader in three modest ways: first, it discusses the historical background to the book ; next, it summarizes the basic elements of von Kries’s approach ; and finally, it examines the so-called “principle of cogent reason” with which von Kries’s name is often identified in the English literature.
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  • Johannes von Kries’s Range Conception, the Method of Arbitrary Functions, and Related Modern Approaches to Probability.Jacob Rosenthal - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):151-170.
    A conception of probability that can be traced back to Johannes von Kries is introduced: the “Spielraum” or range conception. Its close connection to the so-called method of arbitrary functions is highlighted. Possible interpretations of it are discussed, and likewise its scope and its relation to certain current interpretations of probability. Taken together, these approaches form a class of interpretations of probability in its own right, but also with its own problems. These, too, are introduced, discussed, and proposals in response (...)
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  • Johannes von Kries’s Objective Probability as a Semi-Classical Concept. Prehistory, Preconditions and Problems of a Progressive Idea.Helmut Pulte - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):109-129.
    Johannes von Kries’s Spielraum-theory is regarded as one of the most important philosophical contributions of the nineteenth century to an objective interpretation of probability. This paper aims at a critical and contextual analysis of von Kries’s approach: It is contextual insofar as it reconstructs the Spielraum-theory in the historical setting that formed his scientific and philosophical outlook. It is critical insofar as it unfolds systematic tensions and inconsistencies which are rooted in this context, especially in the grave change of mechanism (...)
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  • Equidynamics and Reliable Reasoning About Frequencies.Marshall Abrams, Frederick Eberhardt & Michael Strevens - 2015 - Metascience 24 (2):173-188.
    A symposium on Michael Strevens' book "Tychomancy", concerning the psychological roots and historical significance of physical intuition about probability in physics, biology, and elsewhere.
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