Conditional probability from an ontological point of view

Stephen Mumford
Durham University
Rani Anjum
University of Tromsø (PhD)
This paper argues that the technical notion of conditional probability, as given by the ratio analysis, is unsuitable for dealing with our pretheoretical and intuitive understanding of both conditionality and probability. This is an ontological account of conditionals that include an irreducible dispositional connection between the antecedent and consequent conditions and where the conditional has to be treated as an indivisible whole rather than compositional. The relevant type of conditionality is found in some well-defined group of conditional statements. As an alternative, therefore, we briefly offer grounds for what we would call an ontological reading: for both conditionality and conditional probability in general. It is not offered as a fully developed theory of conditionality but can be used, we claim, to explain why calculations according to the RATIO scheme does not coincide with our intuitive notion of conditional probability. What it shows us is that for an understanding of the whole range of conditionals we will need what John Heil (2003), in response to Quine (1953), calls an ontological point of view.
Keywords Conditional probability  Dispositions  Conditionals
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Probability and Conditionals.Robert C. Stalnaker - 1970 - Philosophy of Science 37 (1):64-80.
Declarations of Independence.Branden Fitelson & Alan Hájek - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3979-3995.
The Fall of “Adams' Thesis”?Alan Hájek - 2012 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 21 (2):145-161.
Adams Conditionals and Non-Monotonic Probabilities.Richard Bradley - 2006 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 15 (1-2):65-81.
Conditioning Against the Grain.Stefan Kaufmann - 2004 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 33 (6):583-606.
The Probabilities of Conditionals Revisited.Igor Douven & Sara Verbrugge - 2013 - Cognitive Science 37 (4):711-730.
Unknown Probabilities.Richard Jeffrey - 1996 - Erkenntnis 45 (2-3):327 - 335.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
328 ( #12,814 of 2,293,834 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
23 ( #19,099 of 2,293,834 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature