, Volume 182, Issue 3, pp 413–432

Deterministic probability: neither chance nor credence


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-010-9750-2

Cite this article as:
Lyon, A. Synthese (2011) 182: 413. doi:10.1007/s11229-010-9750-2


Some have argued that chance and determinism are compatible in order to account for the objectivity of probabilities in theories that are compatible with determinism, like Classical Statistical Mechanics (CSM) and Evolutionary Theory (ET). Contrarily, some have argued that chance and determinism are incompatible, and so such probabilities are subjective. In this paper, I argue that both of these positions are unsatisfactory. I argue that the probabilities of theories like CSM and ET are not chances, but also that they are not subjective probabilities either. Rather, they are a third type of probability, which I call counterfactual probability. The main distinguishing feature of counterfactual-probability is the role it plays in conveying important counterfactual information in explanations. This distinguishes counterfactual probability from chance as a second concept of objective probability.


ChanceCredenceDeterminismObjective probabilityProbability concepts

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy Program, Research School of Social SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia