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A Philosophical Guide to Chance: Physical Probability

Toby Handfield

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Cambridge University Press
05 April 2012
Philosophy; Philosophy: epistemology & theory of knowledge; Philosophy of science
It is a commonplace that scientific inquiry makes extensive use of probabilities, many of which seem to be objective chances, describing features of reality that are independent of our minds. Such chances appear to have a number of paradoxical or puzzling features: they appear to be mind-independent facts, but they are intimately connected with rational psychology; they display a temporal asymmetry, but they are supposed to be grounded in physical laws that are time-symmetric; and chances are used to explain and predict frequencies of events, although they cannot be reduced to those frequencies. This book offers an accessible and non-technical introduction to these and other puzzles. Toby Handfield engages with traditional metaphysics and philosophy of science, drawing upon recent work in the foundations of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics to provide a novel account of objective probability that is empirically informed without requiring specialist scientific knowledge.
By:   Toby Handfield
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 246mm,  Width: 174mm,  Spine: 12mm
Weight:   530g
ISBN:   9781107607354
ISBN 10:   1107607353
Pages:   264
Publication Date:   05 April 2012
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Toby Handfield is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Philosophy, Monash University. He is the editor of Dispositions and Causes (2009).

Reviews for A Philosophical Guide to Chance: Physical Probability

'With Toby Handfield's wonderfully lucid and scrupulously fair guide to chance, philosophers at all levels now have an invaluable aid in coming to grips with this fundamental and beautiful area of philosophy. With a minimum of fussy technicality, and a maximum of clarity, readers are gently introduced to many topics in the physics and metaphysics of chance, even topics at the cutting edge of current research. Handfield's own sophisticated variety of anti-realism about chance will be of interest to even the most seasoned observers of this debate, and prompt much fruitful discussion.' Antony Eagle, University of Oxford


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