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Briggs, Ray. The Metaphysics of Chance
2010, Philosophy Compass 5(11): 938-952.
Added by: Emily Paul

Abstract: This article surveys several interrelated issues in the metaphysics of chance. First, what is the relationship between the probabilities associated with types of trials (for instance, the chance that a twenty?eight?year old develops diabetes before age thirty) and the probabilities associated with individual token trials (for instance, the chance that I develop diabetes before age thirty)? Second, which features of the the world fix the chances: are there objective chances at all, and if so, are there non?chancy facts on which they supervene? Third, can chance be reconciled with determinism, and if so, how?

Comment: A nice introduction to the Metaphysics of Chance, suitable for an intermediate metaphysics course. Could also be a good bridge into a determinism or decision theory course element. Requires prior knowledge of some concepts e.g. token/type distinction and supervenience - but could also be a good way to learn what these are. Alternatively, a particular section of the article could be set (e.g. the final section on whether chance can be reconciled with determinism).

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