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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article investigates a philosophical hypothesis about the nature of (some) probabilities encountered in social sciences, and also explains how to use a new interpretation of probability, far flung frequency (FFF) mechanistic probability, to central cases in social sciences. Probabilities in error terms can reflect both methodological and social probabilities. Some well-known interpretations of probability are then highlighted. “Mechanistic probability” interpretations depend on the same causal structure, but there is no established term for such interpretations at present. Furthermore, the article reviews the core concepts of mechanistic probability using the idea of a wheel of fortune. The wheel of fortune is called a causal map device. The evidence for FFF mechanistic probability in social contexts is not as strong as one would like. It should be taken seriously as an account of the kind of probability to which many claims in social sciences implicitly refer.

Keywords: far flung frequency, mechanistic probability, social sciences, wheel of fortune, causal map device

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