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Deterministic Chance

Glynn, Luke (2010) Deterministic Chance. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 61 (1). pp. 51-80. ISSN 0007-0882.

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I argue that there are non-trivial objective chances (that is, objective chances other than 0 and 1) even in deterministic worlds. The argument is straightforward. I observe that there are probabilistic special scientific laws even in deterministic worlds. These laws project non-trivial probabilities for the events that they concern. And these probabilities play the chance role and so should be regarded as chances as opposed, for example, to epistemic probabilities or credences. The supposition of non-trivial deterministic chances might seem to land us in contradiction. The fundamental laws of deterministic worlds project trivial probabilities for the very same events that are assigned non-trivial probabilities by the special scientific laws. I argue that any appearance of tension is dissolved by recognition of the level-relativity of chances. There is therefore no obstacle to accepting non-trivial chance-role-playing deterministic probabilities as genuine chances.

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Additional Information:© 2009 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science. Advance Access published on June 23, 2009. For helpful discussion and comments on earlier versions of this paper, I’d like to thank Frank Arntzenius, Roman Frigg, Marion Ledwig, Miklós Rédei, Jonathan Schaffer, Mauricio Suarez, Alistair Wilson, and two anonymous referees of this journal. I would also like to thank audiences at several presentations of this paper in 2008, including at the British Society for the Philosophy of Science Annual Conference, the Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, the LSE Philosophy of Probability Graduate Conference, the Ockham Society at Oxford, and the Philosophy of Probability Research Seminar at King’s College, London. I’d like especially to thank Antony Eagle for detailed comments on several earlier drafts of this paper. Funding for this research was provided by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Award.
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Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral AwardUNSPECIFIED
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Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121109-152343812
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:35401
Deposited By: Luke Glynn
Deposited On:09 Nov 2012 23:44
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 04:28

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