The Problem of the Single Case

Dissertation, Cambridge University (1981)
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This is my Cambridge PhD thesis, written under the supervision of Hugh Mellor and Richard Healey, and examined by Mary Hesse and Simon Blackburn. It addresses what it takes to be the core of the problem of single case probability, namely, the interpretation of claims such as ‘It is probable that P’ (where the probabilistic component occurs as a sentential or propositional operator). I argue that claims of this form are not genuinely truth-apt, and that such operators modify the force, rather than the sense, of sentences or propositions to which they attach. In contemporary terms, I thus defend a version of what Yalcin (2012) has called ‘credal expressivism’. Some of the core arguments were later published in the following papers: (i) ‘Does “Probably” modify sense?’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61(1983), 396–408 and (ii) 'Mellor, chance and the single case', British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35(1984), 11-23. Other arguments, including an attempt at the Frege-Geach problem, form the basis of an unpublished piece 'The use of force in a theory of meaning' (1983), accessible at PhilPapers.

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Huw Price
University of Bonn


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