A subjectivist’s guide to deterministic chance

Synthese 198 (5):4339-4372 (2021)
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Abstract

I present an account of deterministic chance which builds upon the physico-mathematical approach to theorizing about deterministic chance known as 'the method of arbitrary functions'. This approach promisingly yields deterministic probabilities which align with what we take the chances to be---it tells us that there is approximately a 1/2 probability of a spun roulette wheel stopping on black, and approximately a 1/2 probability of a flipped coin landing heads up---but it requires some probabilistic materials to work with. I contend that the right probabilistic materials are found in reasonable initial credence distributions. I note that, with some normative assumptions, the resulting account entails that deterministic chances obey a variant of Lewis's 'principal principle'. I additionally argue that deterministic chances, so understood, are capable of explaining long-run frequencies.

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J. Dmitri Gallow
University of Pittsburgh

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