No Chances in a Deterministic World


Authors
C. D. McCoy
Stockholm University
Abstract
Several philosophers have developed accounts to dissolve the apparent conflict between deterministic laws of nature and objective chances. These philosophers advocate the compatibility of determinism and chance. I argue that determinism and chance are incompatible and criticize the various notions of “deterministic chance” supplied by the compatibilists. Many of the compatibilists are strongly motivated by scientific theories where objective probabilities are combined with deterministic laws, the most salient of which is classical statistical mechanics. I show that, properly interpreted, statistical mechanics is either an indeterministic theory or else its probabilities are not chances, just as incompatibilism demands.
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Did the Universe Have a Chance?C. D. McCoy - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science 86 (5).
Stability in Cosmology, From Einstein to Inflation.C. D. McCoy - forthcoming - In Claus Beisbart, Tilman Sauer & Christian Wüthrich (eds.), Thinking About Space and Time. Basel: Birkhäuser.

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