Unsharp Humean Chances in Statistical Physics: A Reply to Beisbart

In M. C. Galavotti (ed.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Science. Cham: Springer. pp. 531-542 (2014)
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Abstract

In an illuminating article, Claus Beisbart argues that the recently-popular thesis that the probabilities of statistical mechanics (SM) are Best System chances runs into a serious obstacle: there is no one axiomatization of SM that is robustly best, as judged by the theoretical virtues of simplicity, strength, and fit. Beisbart takes this 'no clear winner' result to imply that the probabilities yielded by the competing axiomatizations simply fail to count as Best System chances. In this reply, we express sympathy for the 'no clear winner' thesis. However, we argue that an importantly different moral should be drawn from this. We contend that the implication for Humean chances is not that there are no SM chances, but rather that SM chances fail to be sharp

Author Profiles

Mathias Frisch
Universität Hannover
Radin Dardashti
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Karim Thebault
University of Bristol
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