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This more in-depth online version of this article features the following changes from the print handbook version: expanded sections discussing topics in more detail such as chance in physical theories and the Dutch Book Argument.

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date: 12 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Rather than entailing that a particular outcome will occur, many scientific theories only entail that an outcome will occur with a certain probability. Because scientific evidence inevitably falls short of conclusive proof, when choosing between different theories it is standard to make reference to how probable the various options are in light of the evidence. A full understanding of probability in science needs to address both the role of probabilities in theories, or chances, as well as the role of probabilistic judgment in theory choice. In this chapter, the author introduces and distinguishes the two sorts of probability from one another and attempt to offer a satisfactory characterization of how the different uses for probability in science are to be understood. A closing section turns to the question of how views about the chance of some outcome should guide our confidence in that outcome.

Keywords: probability, chance, frequency, determinism, philosophy of science, credence, confirmation, Bayesianism, the Principal Principle

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