Marc Lange
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
I offer an argument regarding chances that appears to yield a dilemma: either the chances at time t must be determined by the natural laws and the history through t of instantiations of categorical properties, or the function ch(•) assigning chances need not satisfy the axioms of probability. The dilemma's first horn might seem like a remnant of determinism. On the other hand, this horn might be inspired by our best scientific theories. In addition, it is entailed by the familiar view that facts about chances at t are ontologically reducible to facts about the laws and the categorical history through t. However, that laws are ontologically prior to chances stands in some tension with the view that chances are governed by laws just as categorical-property instantiations are. The dilemma's second horn entails that if chances are in fact probabilities, then this is a matter of natural law rather than logical or conceptual necessity. I conclude with a suggestion for going between the horns of the dilemma. This suggestion involves a generalization of the notion that chances evolve by conditionalization. Introduction "Chances evolve by conditionalization" How might the lawful magnitude principle be defended? A historical interlude What if chances failed to be determined by the laws and categorical facts?
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axl005
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: 71,259
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Humean Supervenience Debugged.David Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.
A Subjectivist’s Guide to Objective Chance.David K. Lewis - 1980 - In Richard C. Jeffrey (ed.), Studies in Inductive Logic and Probability, Volume II. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 263-293.
Belief and the Will.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1984 - Journal of Philosophy 81 (5):235-256.
Belief and the Will.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2010 - In Antony Eagle (ed.), Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 235-256.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Deterministic Chance?Jonathan Schaffer - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2):113-140.
Deterministic Chance.Antony Eagle - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):269 - 299.
The Metaphysics of Chance.Rachael Briggs - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (11):938-952.
Must the Fundamental Laws of Physics Be Complete?Marc Lange - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (2):312-345.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Transition Chances and Causation.Frank Arntzenius - 1997 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (2):149–168.
Deterministic Chance.Luke Glynn - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):51–80.
Laws, Chances and Properties.D. H. Mellor - 1990 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (2):159 – 170.
Don't Take Unnecessary Chances!Henry E. Kyburg Jr - 2002 - Synthese 132 (1/2):9 - 26.
Laws, Chances, and Statistical Mechanics.Eric Winsberg - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (4):872.
On Higher-Order and Free-Floating Chances.Justin C. Fisher - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):691-707.


Added to PP index

Total views
203 ( #57,900 of 2,518,488 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #408,186 of 2,518,488 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes