Committee for the History and Philosophy of Science

34th Annual Conference

Chance and Probability in Science 

October 12-14, 2018 at CU Boulder


Friday (HLMS 199):

  • 5:30pm Keynote: Ned Hall, "Humean Revisionism about Chance"

    • Abstract: The substantial literature on the Humean/anti-Humean divide about the physical modalities (laws, causation, and chance) has not, I think, fully appreciated how consequential that choice is, for our understanding of objective probability. I’ll attempt to draw attention to some of the most interesting revisionary consequences of one important Humean approach: the “best system” approach championed by Lewis, Beebee, and others. I say “revisionary”, because to the extent that we share a pre-theoretical, intuitive understanding of chance, that understanding is, I think, best captured by an anti-Humean conception. That said, the point here is not to argue for such a conception (after all, who says that chances have to fit our intuitive understanding of them?); rather, my hope is to clarify the stakes.

  • 7:00pm Reception at Museum of Natural History

Saturday: (HLMS 137)

  • 9:00 Harjit Bhogal, "Coincidences and the Grain of Explanation"

    • Comments: Elizabeth Miller

  • 10:15 Nina Emery, "The Explanatory Role Argument and the Metaphysics of Deterministic Chance"

    • Comments: Foad Dizadji-Bahmani

  • 11:30 Jack Spencer and David Builes, "Why Chance Constrains Credence"

    • Comments: Chris Meacham

  • Lunch

  • 2:30 Boris Babic, "Approximate Coherence and Credence"

    • Comments: Kenny Easwaran

  • 3:45 Richard Healey, "Probability and Chance in Quantum Mechanics"

    • Comments: Al Wilson

  • 5:00 Keynote: Ray Briggs, "Chance Functionalism" (HLMS 199)

    • Abstract: Chances show up in many scientific domains, and philosophers have proposed many mutually contradictory accounts of their nature. I propose that these phenomena are explained by chance functionalism, the view that chance is whatever plays the chance role---guiding our predictions, bearing the right connection to frequencies among repeatable events, and occupying a particular place in naturalistic explanations. We have little reason to think that all the realizers of the chance role are alike, or that explaining the chance role is sufficient to explain the intrinsic nature of any of its realizers.

  • 7:00 Dinner

Sunday: (HLMS 199)

  • 9:00 Sivlia Milano, "Bayesian Beauty"

    • Comments: Shahin Kaveh

  • 10:15 Jessica Pfeifer, "Abstraction and Probabilities in Evolutionary Theory"

    • Comments: Joel Velasco

  • 11:30 Beckett Sterner, "Standards of Evidence in Model Selection: A New Underdetermination Problem"

    • Comments: Marco Nathan