In Graham Oppy & N. N. Trakakis (eds.), A Companion to Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand. Monash University Publishing (2010)
The philosophy of probability has been alive and well for several decades in Australia and New Zealand. Some distinctive lines of thought have emerged, resonating with broader themes that have come to be associated with Australasian philosophers: realist/objectivist accounts of various theoretical entities; an ongoing concern with logic, including the development of nonclassical logics; and enthusiasm for conceptual analysis, rooted in commonsense but informed by science. In this article I concentrate on work by philosophers on the interpretation of probability, its logical foundations, and its philosophical applications.1 My nomination for the earliest major Australasian philosopher of probability may surprise some readers: Karl Popper. He counts as Australasian by dint of his employment at the University of Canterbury from 1937 until the end of World War II; he counts as a major philosopher of probability by any estimation. Two of his contributions have initiated research programs in the foundations of probability that are still thriving: his (1959a) axiomatization of primitive conditional probability functions (socalled ‘Popper functions’), and his ‘propensity’ interpretation of probability (1959b), intended to illuminate singlecase attributions of objective probabilities, as are putatively found in quantum mechanics.
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