Journal of Philosophy 108 (8):416-442 (2011)

Authors
Jenann Ismael
Columbia University
Abstract
First para: Before the 17th century, there was not much discussion, and little uniformity in conception, of natural laws. The rise of science in 17th century, Newton’s mathematization of physics, and the provision of strict, deterministic laws that applied equally to the heavens and to the terrestrial realm had a profound impact in transforming the philosophical imagination. A philosophical conception of physical law built on the example of Newtonian Mechanics became quickly entrenched. Between the 17th and 20th centuries, there was a great deal of philosophical interest in probabilities, but probabilities were mostly regarded as having something to do with the management of opinion, not as having a fundamental role in science. Probabilities made their first appearance in an evidently ineliminable way in the laws of a fundamental theory with the advent of quantum mechanics. Quantum probabilities have come to be called ‘chances’ in the philosophical literature, and their interpretation has been one of the central problems in philosophy of science now for almost a century. There continue to be hold-outs that insist that there must be an underlying probability-free replacement for quantum mechanics and Bohmians have had some success in formulating a deterministic alternative to quantum mechanics, but most physicists accept that the probabilistic character of the quantum mechanical laws is likely to be retained in any successor theory. While physics has adjusted itself comfortably to the existence of ineliminably probabilistic laws, philosophy has not managed arrive at a stable interpretation of quantum probability. The difficulty is that there are a number of constraints that an interpretation of chance must satisfy, constraints that appear to be partially definitive of the concept and it proves to be extraordinarily difficult to meet them simultaneously.
Keywords chance
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0022-362X
DOI 10.5840/jphil2011108822
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: 59,775
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

Chance, Possibility, and Explanation.Nina Emery - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):95-120.
An Empiricist's Guide to Objective Modality.Jenann Ismael - 2017 - In Matthew Slater & Zanja Yudell (eds.), Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science: New Essays. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 109-125.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Modest Proposal.J. Allan - 2003 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 23 (2):197-210.
Animal Rights V Animal Research: A Modest Proposal.J. Bernstein - 1996 - Journal of Medical Ethics 22 (5):300-303.
Chance and Context.Toby Handfield & Alastair Wilson - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press.
A Modest Proposal: Is It?Said Zeedani - 2012 - Reason Papers 34 (2):38-44.
Metaphysics E 3: A Modest Proposal.Arthur Madigan - 1984 - Phronesis 29 (2):123-136.
Metaphysics E 3: A Modest Proposal.Arthur Madigan - 1984 - Phronesis 29 (2):123 - 136.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2011-06-26

Total views
174 ( #57,638 of 2,432,670 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #213,901 of 2,432,670 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes