Chapter

Probabilistic Modeling in Physics

Claus Beisbart

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/9780199577439.003.0006
Probabilistic Modeling in Physics

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How can probabilistic models from physics represent a target, and how can one understand the probabilities that figure in such models? The aim of this chapter is to answer these questions by analyzing random models of Brownian motion and point process models of the galaxy distribution as examples. This chapter defends the view that such models represent because we may learn from them by setting our degrees of belief following the probabilities suggested by the model. This account is not incompatible with an objectivist view of the pertinent probabilities, but stock objectivist interpretations, e.g., frequentism or Lewis’ Humean account of probabilities have problems to provide a suitable objectivist methodology for statistical inference from data. This point is made by contrasting Bayesian statistics with error statistics.

Keywords: probabilities; probabilistic model; random model; representation; objectivism; subjectivism; error statistics; Bayesian statistics

Chapter.  11868 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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