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International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics

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The Only Probability Is Verbal Probability

George Masterton
Published Online: 2014-01-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2014-0005


In 1977 van Fraassen showed convincingly, and in detail, how one can give a dissentive answer to the question “[a]re there necessities in nature?”. In this paper, I follow his lead and show in a similar fashion and detail, how it is possible to give a dissentive answer to: Are there probabilities in nature? This is achieved by giving a partial analysis – with the aid of Kaplanian pragmatics – of objective chance in terms of that credence that is reasonable where prevailing laws and conditions exhaust one’s evidence. This template belongs firmly within the established Bayesian program of analysing objective chance as ultimate belief. Its contribution to that program is the same as van Fraassen’s contribution to the empiricist program of analysing physical necessity; namely, it demonstrates the logical possibility of such an analysis.

Keywords: Physical probability; Physical necessity; Kaplan’s pragmatics; Total evidence


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About the article

Published Online: 2014-01-07

Published in Print: 2014-04-01

Citation Information: Metaphysica, Volume 15, Issue 1, Pages 69–84, ISSN (Online) 1874-6373, ISSN (Print) 1437-2053, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2014-0005.

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