Objective chance: not propensity, maybe determinism

Carl Hoefer


One currently popular view about the nature of objective probabilities, or objective chances, is that they – or some of them, at least – are primitive features of the physical world, not reducible to anything else nor explicable in terms of frequencies, degrees of belief, or anything else.  In this paper I explore the question of what the semantic content of primitive chance claims could be.  Every attempt I look at to supply such content either comes up empty-handed, or begs important questions against the skeptic who doubts the meaningfulness of primitive chance claims. In the second half of the paper I show that, by contrast, there are clear, and clearly contentful, ways to understand objective chance claims if we ground them on deterministic physical underpinnings.


chance; probability; propensity; primitive chance; subjective probability; determinism; indeterminism; Humeanism; frequentism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.20416/lsrsps.v3i1.603


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