In Jessica Pfeifer & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Routledge (2006)
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There are two central questions concerning probability. First, what are its formal features? That is a mathematical question, to which there is a standard, widely (though not universally) agreed upon answer. This answer is reviewed in the next section. Second, what sorts of things are probabilities---what, that is, is the subject matter of probability theory? This is a philosophical question, and while the mathematical theory of probability certainly bears on it, the answer must come from elsewhere. To see why, observe that there are many things in the world that have the mathematical structure of probabilities---the set of measurable regions on the surface of a table, for example---but that one would never mistake for being probabilities. So probability is distinguished by more than just its formal characteristics. The bulk of this essay will be taken up with the central question of what this “more” might be



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Author Profiles

Branden Fitelson
Northeastern University
Alan Hajek
Australian National University
Ned Hall
Harvard University

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References found in this work

Logical foundations of probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago]: Chicago University of Chicago Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
A treatise on probability.John Maynard Keynes - 1921 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications.
Theory of Games and Economic Behavior.John Von Neumann & Oskar Morgenstern - 1944 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.

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