, Volume 70, Issue 2, pp 211–235 | Cite as

Fifteen Arguments Against Hypothetical Frequentism

Original article


This is the sequel to my “Fifteen Arguments Against Finite Frequentism” (Erkenntnis 1997), the second half of a long paper that attacks the two main forms of frequentism about probability. Hypothetical frequentism asserts:

The probability of an attribute A in a reference class B is p


the limit of the relative frequency of A’s among the B’s would be p if there were an infinite sequence of B’s.

I offer fifteen arguments against this analysis. I consider various frequentist responses, which I argue ultimately fail. I end with a positive proposal of my own, ‘hyper-hypothetical frequentism’, which I argue avoids several of the problems with hypothetical frequentism. It identifies probability with relative frequency in a hyperfinite sequence of trials. However, I argue that this account also fails, and that the prospects for frequentism are dim.


Relative Frequency Infinite Sequence Objective Probability Reference Class Fair Coin 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy Program, Research School of Social SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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