On The Notion of Chance and Its Application in Natural Sciences

In Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy. pp. 7-15 (2008)

Grzegorz Bugajak
Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University In Warsaw
The notion of chance plays an important role in some philosophical analyses and interpretations of scientific theories. The most obvious examples of that are the theories of evolution and quantum mechanics. This notion, however seems to be notoriously vague. Its application in such analyses, more often than not refers to its common-sense understanding, which, by definition, cannot be sufficient when it comes to sound philosophical interpretations of scientific achievements. The paper attempts at formulating a ‘typology of chance’. It distinguishes eight different meanings of this notion. Those meanings can be found in classical philosophical accounts of chance, in the common usage of this term, or form logical possibilities of its understanding. Subsequently, the paper points to those forms of the notion in question which may and may not be properly applied to scientific theories and ideas – given usual characteristics of natural sciences. It also shows – by the examples of particular theories mentioned above – which of the distinguished forms of the notion of chance are actually applicable in the context of these theories
Keywords chance
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

Mellor on Chance and Causation. [REVIEW]Dorothy Edgington - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):411-433.
The Irony of Chance.Pascal Massie - 2003 - International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (1):15-28.
Evolution: Teleology or Chance? [REVIEW]F. J. K. Soontiëns - 1991 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 22 (1):133-141.
David Lewis’s Humean Theory of Objective Chance.Barry Loewer - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1115--25.
Chances and Causes in Evolutionary Biology: How Many Chances Become One Chance.Roberta L. Millstein - 2011 - In P. M. Illari, F. Russo & J. Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. pp. 2--425.
Three Proposals Regarding a Theory of Chance.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2005 - Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):281–307.
Determinism, Chance, and Freedom.Mauro Dorato - 2002 - In Harald Atmanspacher & Robert C. Bishop (eds.), Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism. Thorverton UK: Imprint Academic. pp. 321--38.
Chance Versus Randomness.Antony Eagle - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Chance and Natural Selection.John Beatty - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (2):183-211.


Added to PP index

Total views
162 ( #51,021 of 2,291,335 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #60,454 of 2,291,335 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature