Objective Chances in a Deterministic World

Dissertation, Bates College (2012)

Determinism is the thesis that the state of the world at any time uniquely determines the state of the world at all future times. Our best scientific theories seem inconclusive as to whether our world is deterministic. Our world could very well be either partially or completely deterministic. But determinism is not as innocuous as it seems; the truth of determinism seems to come into conflict with many intuitive concepts. One such concept is objective chance. Our intuitive notions of objective chances are tied to the belief that events could have turned out differently than the way they actually occurred. Though many philosophers have declared that this conception of objective chance is incompatible with deterministic worlds, some have tried to provide accounts that render the two compatible. In this thesis I investigate what a theory of deterministic chance could be. Working within certain metaphysical constraints on chance, I craft out a new dispositional account of chance grounded in properties that objects have.
Keywords chance  determinism
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