Chapter

Introduction

Claus Beisbart and Stephan Hartmann

in Probabilities in Physics

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199577439
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191730603 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577439.003.0001
Introduction

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This chapter states the aims of this volume and provides an introduction to the material to follow. In the first section, various interpretations of probabilities are surveyed and discussed with an eye to physics and its probabilities. It is stressed that the axioms of the probability calculus do not suffice to understand probabilities from physics. Objectivist interpretations take it that probabilistic statements reflect mind-independent facts. However, as a discussion of frequentism, propensity views, and other objectivist interpretations shows, it is difficult to say what exactly these facts are. According to subjectivist views, probabilities are used to express degrees of belief. These views have problems to explain why physicists reasonably agree on the values of many probabilities. The second section of this introduction summarizes the chapters of this volume.

Keywords: probabilities; probability calculus; interpretation of probability; objectivism; subjectivism; frequentism; propensity view

Chapter.  9994 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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