Chance, Possibility, and Explanation

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):95-120 (2015)
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Abstract

I argue against the common and influential view that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic. The problem with this view, I claim, is not that it conflicts with some antecedently plausible metaphysics of chance or that it fails to capture our everyday use of ‘chance’ and related terms, but rather that it is unstable. Any reason for adopting the position that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic is also a reason for adopting a much stronger, and far less attractive, position. I suggest an alternative account, according to which chances are probabilities that play a certain explanatory role: they are probabilities that explain associated frequencies.

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Nina Emery
Mount Holyoke College

Citations of this work

Laws and their instances.Nina Emery - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1535-1561.
Contractualism, Complaints, and Risk.Bastian Steuwer - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (2).
Chance and Determinism.Nina Emery - 2022 - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics. Routledge.

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