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date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces the key frequentist interpretation of probability as developed by Venn, von Mises and Reichenbach. Frequentists identify probabilities with frequencies; but there are problems with this identification. Finite frequentism is beset with problems, including the problem of the single case. Hypothetical frequentism, identifying probability with limiting relative frequencies in infinitely repeated trials, provides a response to the problems of finite frequentism and is consistent with the interpretation of probability in many areas of science. But identifying probability with hypothetical frequencies raises new questions. The chapter focuses on the main criticisms leveled against frequentism. The problems of frequentism raise interesting questions for the role of frequentist probabilities in science. Throughout the chapter an attempt is made to identify the different criteria by which frequentism is assessed as an interpretation of probability in contrast to the instrumental focus of many frequentists in assessing the role of probabilities in science.

Keywords: frequentism, hypothetical frequentism, von Mises, Reichenbach, Hájek

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