Time and Chance Propensities

Carl Hoefer

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199298204
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728372 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Time and Chance Propensities

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Advocates of the propensity interpretation conceive of probabilities as dispositions or tendencies inherent in certain physical situations that cause a particular pattern of outcomes. This chapter argues that the propensity interpretation of probabilities is implicitly connected to the assumption of an unreal future. Thinking that an unreal future is untenable in light of relativity theory, it argues that the intuitive “boost ” propensities get by this connection is illegitimate. Once sanitized of the connection, the chapter claims that propensities lose much of their appeal.

Keywords: probability; propensity interpretation; unreal future; relativity theory

Article.  9338 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Science

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