Advertisement

Chance, determinism, and unsettledness

  • Antony Eagle
Article

Abstract

A previously unrecognised argument against deterministic chance is introduced. The argument rests on the twin ideas that determined outcomes are settled, while chancy outcomes are unsettled, thus making cases of determined but chancy outcomes impossible. Closer attention to tacit assumptions about settledness makes available some principled lines of resistance to the argument for compatibilists about chance and determinism. Yet the costs of maintaining compatibilism may be higher with respect to this argument than with respect to existing incompatibilist arguments.

Keywords

Chance Determinism Unsettledness Indeterminacy Laws Undermining Context-dependence 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This paper has its origins in a talk presented at the Determinism, Probability and Conditionals workshop at the ANU in July 2015, supported by the Thinking Trust Endowment. The written version was prepared while I was visiting the Munich Centre for Mathematical Philosophy, supported by a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. I am grateful to the ANU audience, and to anonymous referees for this journal and another, for comments that have improved the paper.

Funding

Funding was provided by Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung (AUS 1185645 HFST-E).

References

  1. Armstrong, D. M. (1983). What is a law of nature? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnes, E. (2010). Ontic vagueness: A guide for the perplexed. Nous, 44(4), 601–627.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0068.2010.00762.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnes, E., & Cameron, R. P. (2009). The open future: Bivalence, determinism and ontology. Philosophical Studies, 146(2), 291–309.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-008-9257-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnes, E., & Cameron, R. P. (2011). Back to the open future. Philosophical Perspectives, 25(1), 1–26.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1520-8583.2011.00206.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnes, E., & Williams, J. R. G. (2011). A theory of metaphysical indeterminacy. In K. Bennett & D. W. Zimmerman (Eds.), Oxford studies in metaphysics (Vol. 6, pp. 103–148). Oxford: Oxford University Press.  https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603039.001.0001.
  6. Belnap, N., & Green, M. (1994). Indeterminism and the thin red line. Philosophical Perspectives, 8, 365–388.  https://doi.org/10.2307/2214178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bigelow, J., Collins, J., & Pargetter, R. (1993). The big bad bug: What are the humean’s chances? The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 44, 443–462.  https://doi.org/10.1093/bjps/44.3.443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bokulich, A. (2014). Metaphysical indeterminacy, properties, and quantum theory. Res Philosophica, 91(3), 449–475.  https://doi.org/10.11612/resphil.2014.91.3.11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clark, P. (1987). Determinism and probability in physics. In Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, supplementary volume (Vol. 61, pp. 185–210). http://www.jstor.org/stable/4106837.
  10. Eagle, A. (2011). Deterministic chance. Nous, 45, 269–299.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0068.2010.00771.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eagle, A. (2014). Is the past a matter of chance? In A. Wilson (Ed.), Chance and temporal asymmetry (pp. 126–158). Oxford: Oxford University Press.  https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673421.003.0007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Earman, J. (1986). A primer on determinism (University of Western Ontario series in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 32). Dordrecht: D. Reidel.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Frigg, R. (2016). Chance and determinism. In C. R. Hitchcock & A. Hájek (Eds.), Oxford handbook of probability and philosophy (pp. 460–474). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Glynn, L. (2010). Deterministic chance. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 61, 51–80.  https://doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axp020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Greenough, P. (2008). Indeterminate truth. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 32(1), 213–241.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4975.2008.00173.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hall, N. (2004). Two mistakes about credence and chance. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 82, 93–111.  https://doi.org/10.1080/713659806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Handfield, T., & Wilson, A. (2014). Chance and context. In A. Wilson (Ed.), Chance and temporal asymmetry (pp. 19–44). Oxford: Oxford University Press.  https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673421.003.0001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hawthorne, J., & Lasonen-Aarnio, M. (2009). Knowledge and objective chance. In P. Greenough & D. Pritchard (Eds.), Oxford, pp. 92–108.  https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199287512.001.0001.
  19. Ismael, J. T. (1996). What chances could not be. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science47(1), 79–91.  https://doi.org/10.1093/bjps/47.1.76.
  20. Ismael, J. T. (2009). Probability in deterministic physics. Journal of Philosophy, 106(2), 89–108.  https://doi.org/10.5840/jphil2009106214.
  21. Kratzer, A. (2012). The Notional Category of Modality. In Modals and Conditionals: New and Revised Perspectives (pp. 27–69). Oxford: Oxford University Press.  https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199234684.001.0001.
  22. Lange, M. (2009). Laws and lawmakers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Levi, I. (1980). The enterprise of knowledge. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Lewis, D. (1979). Counterfactual dependence and time’s arrow. Nous, 13(4), 455–476.  https://doi.org/10.2307/2215339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lewis, D. (1981). Are we free to break the laws? Theoria, 47(3), 113–121.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-2567.1981.tb00473.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lewis, D. (1986). A subjectivist’s guide to objective chance. In Philosophical Papers (Vol. 2, pp. 83–132). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Lewis, D. (1994). Humean supervenience debugged. Mind, 103, 473–490. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2254396.
  28. Lewis, P. J. (2016). Quantum ontology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. List, C., & Pivato, M. (2015). Emergent chance. The Philosophical Review, 124(1), 119–152.  https://doi.org/10.1215/00318108-2812670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Loewer, B. (2001). Determinism and chance. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 32, 609–620.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1355-2198(01)00028-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Routley, R., & Montgomery, H. (1966). Contingency and non-contingency bases for normal modal logics. Logique Et Analyse, 35–36, 318–328.Google Scholar
  32. Schaffer, J. (2007). Deterministic chance? The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 58(2), 113–140.  https://doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axm002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Skow, B. (2015). Objective becoming. Oxford: OUP Oxford.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stalnaker, R. (1975). Indicative conditionals, 5(3), 269–86.  https://doi.org/10.1007/bf02379021.
  35. Williams, J. R. B. (2008). Ontic vagueness and metaphysical indeterminacy. Philosophy Compass, 3(4), 763–788.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1747-9991.2008.00151.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wilson, J. M. (2013). A determinable-based account of metaphysical indeterminacy. Inquiry, 56(4), 359–385.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0020174X.2013.816251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations