Galavotti, Maria Carla. A Philosophical Introduction to Probability
2005, CSLI Publications
Expand entry
Publisher's Note: Not limited to merely mathematics, probability has a rich and controversial philosophical aspect. 'A Philosophical Introduction to Probability' showcases lesser-known philosophical notions of probability and explores the debate over their interpretations. Galavotti traces the history of probability and its mathematical properties and then discusses various philosophical positions on probability, from the Pierre Simon de Laplace's 'classical' interpretation of probability to the logical interpretation proposed by John Maynard Keynes. This book is a valuable resource for students in philosophy and mathematics and all readers interested in notions of probability

Comment: Very good article for philosophy of science and philosophy of probability courses. It works perfectly to build basic knowledge on the theme of probability.

Millstein, Roberta L.. Probability in Biology: The Case of Fitness
2016,
Expand entry
Added by: Barbara Cohn, Contributed by: Anya Plutynski
Abstract: I argue that the propensity interpretation of fitness, properly understood, not only solves the explanatory circularity problem and the mismatch problem, but can also withstand the Pandora's box full of problems that have been thrown at it. Fitness is the propensity (i.e., probabilistic ability, based on heritable physical traits) for organisms or types of organisms to survive and reproduce in particular environments and in particular populations for a specified number of generations; if greater than one generation, 'reproduction' includes descendants of descendants. Fitness values can be described in terms of distributions of propensities to produce varying number of offspring and can be modeled for any number of generations using computer simulations, thus providing both predictive power and a means for comparing the fitness of different phenotypes. Fitness is a causal concept, most notably at the population level, where fitness differences are causally responsible for differences in reproductive success. Relative fitness is ultimately what matters for natural selection.

Comment: I use this in discussions of natural selection and probability in evolution.

Can’t find it?
Contribute the texts you think should be here and we’ll add them soon!