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Philosophy General

Beyond Chance and Credence

A Theory of Hybrid Probabilities

by (author) Wayne C. Myrvold

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2021
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2021
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Concepts related to probability permeate physics. This is most obvious in statistical mechanics, in which probabilities appear explicitly, but even in cases when predictions are made with near-certainty, there are implicit probabilistic assumptions in play. How are we to understand these probabilistic concepts? How do they apply to the physical world? Beyond Chance and Credence offers a fresh look at these familiar topics, urging readers to see them in a new light. The book provides an overview of the history of philosophical debates about the nature of probability over the last three centuries, and clear and accessible introductions to conceptual issues in probability theory, thermodynamics, and statistical mechanics. Myrvold argues that the traditional choice between probabilities as objective chances or else as degrees of belief is too limiting, and introduces a new concept, epistemic chances, that combines physical and epistemic considerations. He goes on to show that conceiving of probabilities in this way solves some of the puzzles associated with the use of probability and statistical mechanics. The result is an innovative perspective on one of the most central topics in the philosophy of science.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Wayne C. Myrvold is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario, where he has been a faculty member since 1997. He received his PhD at Boston University under the supervision of Judson Webb and Abner Shimony. His work has focussed on philosophy of physics and on confirmation theory. He has served as an editor for Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics since 2010, and has been subject editor for Quantum Mechanics for The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy since 2009.