Chance

In Donald Borchert (ed.), Macmillan's Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Macmillan (2006)

Authors
Carl Hoefer
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Alan Hajek
Australian National University
Abstract
Much is asked of the concept of chance. It has been thought to play various roles, some in tension with or even incompatible with others. Chance has been characterized negatively, as the absence of causation; yet also positively—the ancient Greek τυχη´ reifies it—as a cause of events that are not governed by laws of nature, or as a feature of the laws themselves. Chance events have been understood epistemically as those whose causes are unknown; yet also objectively as a distinct ontological kind, sometimes called ‘pure’ chance events. Chance gives rise to individual unpredictability and disorder; yet it yields collective predictability and order—stable long-run statistics, and in the limit, aggregate behavior susceptible to precise mathematical theorems. Some authors believe that to posit chances is to abjure explanation; yet others think that chances are themselves explanatory. During the Enlightenment, talk of ‘chance’ was regarded as unscientific, unphilosophical, the stuff of superstition or ignorance; yet today it is often taken to be a fundamental notion of our most successful scientific theory, quantum mechanics, and a central concept of contemporary metaphysics. Chance has both negative and positive associations in daily life. The old word in English for it, hazard, which derives from French and originally from Arabic, still has unwelcome connotations of risk; ‘chance’ evokes uncertainty, uncontrollability, and chaos. Yet chance is also allied with luck, fortune, freedom from constraint, and diversity. And it apparently has various practical uses and benefits. It forms the basis of randomized trials in statistics, and of mixed strategies in decision theory and game theory; it is appealed to in order to resolve problems of fair division and other ethical..
Keywords Chance
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on Amazon.com
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,700
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

Autonomous Chances and the Conflicts Problem.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Asymmetries in Chance and Time. Oxford University Press. pp. 45-67.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Irony of Chance.Pascal Massie - 2003 - International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (1):15-28.
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.
Principled Chances.Jonathan Schaffer - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (1):27-41.
Chance and Macroevolution.Roberta L. Millstein - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (4):603-624.
Deterministic Chance.Luke Glynn - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):51–80.
Chance in Human Affairs.Jerome G. Manis & Bernard N. Meltzer - 1994 - Sociological Theory 12 (1):45-56.
David Lewis’s Humean Theory of Objective Chance.Barry Loewer - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1115--25.
Chance Versus Randomness.Antony Eagle - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Three Proposals Regarding a Theory of Chance.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2005 - Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):281–307.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
215 ( #44,694 of 2,432,317 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #466,190 of 2,432,317 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes