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Chance and Context

In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press (2014)

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  1. Chance and Determinism.Nina Emery - 2022 - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics. Routledge.
    This chapter focuses on the relations between objective probabilities in physical theories at different levels. In general philosophy of probability, it is frequently assumed that a fundamental deterministic theory cannot support probabilistic phenomena at any higher level, or more generally that there cannot be non-trivial probabilities in higher-level theories that are not encoded in probabilities at the lower level. These assumptions face significant challenges from some well-understood physical theories – I focus on statistical mechanics and Bohmian mechanics – where a (...)
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  • How Chance Explains.Michael Townsen Hicks & Alastair Wilson - forthcoming - Noûs.
    What explains the outcomes of chance processes? We claim that their setups do. Chances, we think, mediate these explanations of outcome by setup but do not feature in them. Facts about chances do feature in explanations of a different kind: higher-order explanations, which explain how and why setups explain their outcomes. In this paper, we elucidate this ‘mediator view’ of chancy explanation and defend it from a series of objections. We then show how it changes the playing field in four (...)
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  • The Chances of Propensities.Mauricio Suárez - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1155-1177.
    This paper argues that if propensities are displayed in objective physical chances then the appropriate representation of these chances is as indexed probability functions. Two alternative formal models, or accounts, for the relation between propensity properties and their chancy or probabilistic manifestations, in terms of conditionals and conditional probability are first reviewed. It is argued that both confront important objections, which are overcome by the account in terms of indexed probabilities. A number of further advantages of the indexed probability account (...)
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  • Chance, Possibility, and Explanation.Nina Emery - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):95-120.
    I argue against the common and influential view that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic. The problem with this view, I claim, is not that it conflicts with some antecedently plausible metaphysics of chance or that it fails to capture our everyday use of ‘chance’ and related terms, but rather that it is unstable. Any reason for adopting the position that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic is also a reason for adopting (...)
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  • Quantumness of States and Unitary Operations.Joanna Luc - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (11):1645-1685.
    This paper investigates various properties that may by possessed by quantum states, which are believed to be specifically “quantum” and their opposites. It also considers their “absolute” counterparts in the following sense: a given state has a given property absolutely if after an arbitrary unitary transformation it still possesses it. The known relations between the listed properties and between their absolute counterparts are summarized. It is proven that the only two-qubit state that has zero quantum discord absolutely is the maximally (...)
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  • Epistemic Theories of Objective Chance.Richard Johns - 2020 - Synthese 197 (2):703-730.
    Epistemic theories of objective chance hold that chances are idealised epistemic probabilities of some sort. After giving a brief history of this approach to objective chance, I argue for a particular version of this view, that the chance of an event E is its epistemic probability, given maximal knowledge of the possible causes of E. The main argument for this view is the demonstration that it entails all of the commonly-accepted properties of chance. For example, this analysis entails that chances (...)
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  • Fundamentality And Modal Freedom.Jennifer Wang - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):397-418.
    A fundamental entity is an entity that is ‘ontologically independent’; it does not depend on anything else for its existence or essence. It seems to follow that a fundamental entity is ‘modally free’ in some sense. This assumption, that fundamentality entails modal freedom (or ‘FEMF’ as I shall label the thesis), is used in the service of other arguments in metaphysics. But as I will argue, the road from fundamentality to modal freedom is not so straightforward. The defender of FEMF (...)
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  • Autonomous Chances and the Conflicts Problem.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Asymmetries in Chance and Time. Oxford University Press. pp. 45-67.
    In recent work, Callender and Cohen (2009) and Hoefer (2007) have proposed variants of the account of chance proposed by Lewis (1994). One of the ways in which these accounts diverge from Lewis’s is that they allow special sciences and the macroscopic realm to have chances that are autonomous from those of physics and the microscopic realm. A worry for these proposals is that autonomous chances may place incompatible constraints on rational belief. I examine this worry, and attempt to determine (...)
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  • Backwards Causation and the Chancy Past.John Cusbert - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):1-33.
    I argue that the past can be objectively chancy in cases of backwards causation, and defend a view of chance that allows for this. Using a case, I argue against the popular temporal view of chance, according to which chances are defined relative to times, and all chancy events must lie in the future. I then state and defend the causal view of chance, according to which chances are defined relative to causal histories, and all chancy events must lie causally (...)
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  • Review of Toby Handfield, A Philosophical Guide to Chance. [REVIEW]Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2013.
    This is a review of Toby Handfield's book, "A Philosophical Guide to Chance", that discusses Handfield's Debunking Argument against realist accounts of chance.
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  • Chance, Determinism, and Unsettledness.Antony Eagle - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):781-802.
    A previously unrecognised argument against deterministic chance is introduced. The argument rests on the twin ideas that determined outcomes are settled, while chancy outcomes are unsettled, thus making cases of determined but chancy outcomes impossible. Closer attention to tacit assumptions about settledness makes available some principled lines of resistance to the argument for compatibilists about chance and determinism. Yet the costs of maintaining compatibilism may be higher with respect to this argument than with respect to existing incompatibilist arguments.
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