- The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy
- List of Contributors
- Introduction
- Probability for Everyone—Even Philosophers
- Pre-history of Probability
- Probability in 17th- and 18th-century Continental Europe from the Perspective of Jacob Bernoulli’s <i>Art of Conjecturing</i>
- Probability and Its Application in Britain during the 17th and 18th Centuries
- A Brief History of Probability Theory from 1810 to 1940
- The Origins of Modern Statistics: The English Statistical School
- The Origins of Probabilistic Epistemology: Some Leading 20th-century Philosophers of Probability
- Kolmogorov’s Axiomatization and Its Discontents
- Conditional Probability
- The Bayesian Network Story
- Mathematical Alternatives to Standard Probability that Provide Selectable Degrees of Precision
- Probability and Nonclassical Logic
- A Logic of Comparative Support: Qualitative Conditional Probability Relations Representable by Popper Functions
- Imprecise and Indeterminate Probabilities
- Symmetry Arguments in Probability
- Frequentism
- Subjectivism
- Bayesianism vs. Frequentism in Statistical Inference
- The Propensity Interpretation
- Best System Approaches to Chance
- Probability and Randomness
- Chance and Determinism
- Human Understandings of Probability
- Probability Elicitation
- Probabilistic Opinion Pooling
- Quantum Probability: An Introduction
- Probabilities in Statistical Mechanics
- Probability in Biology: The Case of Fitness
- Probability in Epistemology
- Confirmation Theory
- Self-Locating Credences
- Probability in Logic
- Probability in Ethics
- Probability and the Philosophy of Religion
- Probability in Philosophy of Language
- Decision Theory
- Probabilistic Causation
- Name Index
- Subject Index

## Abstract and Keywords

The propensity interpretation of probability was introduced by Popper in 1957, and the chapter begins with a discussion of Popper’s initial account of propensities and a comparison with Peirce’s related ideas. The original propensity interpretation had a number of strands, some of which could be accepted while others were rejected. This meant that the propensity interpretation could be, and was, developed in different ways by different philosophers of science. One point at issue was whether propensities were objective probabilities of single events. This led to a distinction between (i) single-case propensity theories, and (ii) long-run propensity theories. Another problem concerned the relation between propensities and causes – if propensities had a causal import, because of what is known as the Humphreys’ paradox they might not satisfy the standard axioms of probability. The chapter concludes by discussing how propensities might be connected to observed frequencies via the theory of statistical testing.

Keywords: propensity, single-case, long-run, causality, Humphreys’ paradox, statistical testing

Donald Gillies, Department of Philosophy, University College London

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- The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy
- List of Contributors
- Introduction
- Probability for Everyone—Even Philosophers
- Pre-history of Probability
- Probability in 17th- and 18th-century Continental Europe from the Perspective of Jacob Bernoulli’s <i>Art of Conjecturing</i>
- Probability and Its Application in Britain during the 17th and 18th Centuries
- A Brief History of Probability Theory from 1810 to 1940
- The Origins of Modern Statistics: The English Statistical School
- The Origins of Probabilistic Epistemology: Some Leading 20th-century Philosophers of Probability
- Kolmogorov’s Axiomatization and Its Discontents
- Conditional Probability
- The Bayesian Network Story
- Mathematical Alternatives to Standard Probability that Provide Selectable Degrees of Precision
- Probability and Nonclassical Logic
- A Logic of Comparative Support: Qualitative Conditional Probability Relations Representable by Popper Functions
- Imprecise and Indeterminate Probabilities
- Symmetry Arguments in Probability
- Frequentism
- Subjectivism
- Bayesianism vs. Frequentism in Statistical Inference
- The Propensity Interpretation
- Best System Approaches to Chance
- Probability and Randomness
- Chance and Determinism
- Human Understandings of Probability
- Probability Elicitation
- Probabilistic Opinion Pooling
- Quantum Probability: An Introduction
- Probabilities in Statistical Mechanics
- Probability in Biology: The Case of Fitness
- Probability in Epistemology
- Confirmation Theory
- Self-Locating Credences
- Probability in Logic
- Probability in Ethics
- Probability and the Philosophy of Religion
- Probability in Philosophy of Language
- Decision Theory
- Probabilistic Causation
- Name Index
- Subject Index