Unsharp Humean Chances in Statistical Physics: A Reply to Beisbart

In M. C. Galavotti (ed.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Science. Cham: Springer. pp. 531-542 (2014)
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Abstract

In an illuminating article, Claus Beisbart argues that the recently-popular thesis that the probabilities of statistical mechanics (SM) are Best System chances runs into a serious obstacle: there is no one axiomatization of SM that is robustly best, as judged by the theoretical virtues of simplicity, strength, and fit. Beisbart takes this 'no clear winner' result to imply that the probabilities yielded by the competing axiomatizations simply fail to count as Best System chances. In this reply, we express sympathy for the 'no clear winner' thesis. However, we argue that an importantly different moral should be drawn from this. We contend that the implication for Humean chances is not that there are no SM chances, but rather that SM chances fail to be sharp

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Author Profiles

Mathias Frisch
Universität Hannover
Radin Dardashti
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Karim Thebault
University of Bristol
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Citations of this work

Vague Credence.Aidan Lyon - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3931-3954.
Ceteris Paribus Laws and Minutis Rectis Laws.Luke Fenton-Glynn - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):274-305.
A Humean Guide to Spielraum Probabilities.Claus Beisbart - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):189-216.

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References found in this work

New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Humean Supervenience Debugged.David Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.
New Work For a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1997 - In David Hugh Mellor & Alex Oliver (eds.), Properties. New York: Oxford University Press.
Two accounts of laws and time.Barry Loewer - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):115-137.
Deterministic Chance?Jonathan Schaffer - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2):113-140.

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