Authors
Barry Loewer
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Abstract
It is generally thought that objective chances for particular events different from 1 and 0 and determinism are incompatible. However, there are important scientific theories whose laws are deterministic but which also assign non-trivial probabilities to events. The most important of these is statistical mechanics whose probabilities are essential to the explanations of thermodynamic phenomena. These probabilities are often construed as 'ignorance' probabilities representing our lack of knowledge concerning the microstate. I argue that this construal is incompatible with the role of probability in explanation and laws. This is the 'paradox of deterministic probabilities'. After surveying the usual list of accounts of objective chance and finding them inadequate I argue that an account of chance sketched by David Lewis can be modified to solve the paradox of deterministic probabilities and provide an adequate account of the probabilities in deterministic theories like statistical mechanics
Keywords Determinism
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DOI 10.1016/s1355-2198(01)00028-4
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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.
Determinism and Probability in Physics.Peter Clark & Jeremy Butterfield - 1987 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes 61:185-243.

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Citations of this work BETA

Modal Science.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):453-492.
Two Accounts of Laws and Time.Barry Loewer - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):115-137.
Realism About the Wave Function.Eddy Keming Chen - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (7).
Imprecise Probabilities.Seamus Bradley - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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