, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 85–87 | Cite as

On chance

Toby Handfield: A philosophical guide to chance: Physical probability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, viii+256 pp, £17.99 PB
  • Joshua Luczak
Book Review

It has become standard to think that there are at least two varieties of probability: subjective and objective. The former is roughly identified as the degree of belief, or credence, of a rational agent, and the latter is typically associated with various systems in the world (see Hájek 2012 for more on various probability concepts). Objective probabilities, or chances, as they are often called, are thought to exist independently of what anyone thinks, and are the sort of thing that are properly studied by the natural sciences. As those familiar with all of this might have guessed, Toby Handfield’s A Philosophical Guide to Chance explores the latter kind of probability.

This book offers, in 12 very clear and accessible chapters, a philosophically rich discussion of chance that draws on relevant scientific considerations in a light and engaging way. The text is geared towards undergraduate students of philosophy who have had no or little training in either physics or mathematics, and...



I am grateful to Alan Hájek and Wayne Myrvold for their helpful comments on earlier drafts.


  1. Hájek, Alan. 2012. Interpretations of probability. In The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, ed. Edward N. Zalta, summer 2012 edn. Accessed 28 Aug 2012.
  2. Lewis, David. 1986. A subjectivist’s guide to objective chance. In Philosophical papers, vol. II, 83–132. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Schaffer, Jonathan. 2007. Deterministic chance? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58: 113–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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