Advertisement

Erkenntnis

, Volume 80, Supplement 3, pp 433–456 | Cite as

On Probabilities in Biology and Physics

  • Joseph Berkovitz
  • Philippe Huneman
Original Article
  • 210 Downloads

Abstract

This volume focuses on various questions concerning the interpretation of probability and probabilistic reasoning in biology and physics. It is inspired by the idea that philosophers of biology and philosophers of physics who work on the foundations of their disciplines encounter similar questions and problems concerning the role and application of probability, and that interaction between the two communities will be both interesting and fruitful. In this introduction we present the background to the main questions that the volume focuses on and summarize the highlights of the individual contributions.

Keywords

Subjective Probability Classical Mechanic Objective Probability Representational Content Bohmian Mechanic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

For comments on earlier versions of this paper, we are grateful to Noah Stemeroff and Marshal Abrams.

References

  1. Abrams, M. (2007). How do natural selection and random drift interact? Philosophy of Science, 74(5), 666–679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abrams, M. (2012). Mechanistic probability. Synthese, 187(2), 343–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Abrams, M. (2015). Probability and manipulation: Evolution and simulation in applied population genetics. Erkenntnis (this volume).Google Scholar
  4. Albert, D. (2000). Time and chance. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Ao, P. (2005). Laws in Darwinian evolutionary theory. Physics of Life Reviews, 2(2), 117–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ariew, A., & Lewontin, R. C. (2004). The confusions of fitness. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 55(2), 347–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barton, N., & Coe, J. B. (2009). On the application of statistical physics to evolutionary biology. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 259(2), 317–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beatty, J., & Finsen, S. (1989). Rethinking the propensity interpretation: A peek inside the Pandora’s box. In M. Ruse (Ed.), What the philosophy of biology is today: Essays for David Hull (pp. 17–30). Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bell, J. S. (1987). Speakable and unspeakable in quantum mechanics. Cambridge: CUP.Google Scholar
  10. Berkovitz, J. (2012). The world according to de Finetti: On de Finetti’s theory of probability and its application to quantum mechanics. In Y. Ben Menachem & M. Hemmo (Eds.), Probability in physics, The Frontiers Collection (pp. 249–280). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  11. Berkovitz, J. (2014). On de Finetti’s instrumentalist philosophy of probability. A paper presented at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy. https://cast.itunes.uni-muenchen.de/vod/clips/uXGOLuIMeX/quicktime.mp4.
  12. Berkovitz, J. (2015). The propensity interpretation: A re-evaluation. Erkenntis (this volume).Google Scholar
  13. Bolzano, B. (1973). Theory of science, edited, with an introduction by J. Berg, translated from German by Burnham Terrell. Dordrecht and Boston: D. Reidel.Google Scholar
  14. Bouchard, F., & Rosenberg, A. (2004). Fitness, probability and the principles of natural selection. British Journal for Philosophy of Science, 55(4), 693–712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brandon, R. (1990). Adaptation and environment. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  16. Brandon, R., & Carson, S. (1996). The indeterministic character of evolutionary theory: No ‘no hidden variables’ proof but no room for determinism either. Philosophy of Science, 63(3), 315–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brandon, R., & Ramsey, G. (2007). What’s wrong with the emergentist statistical interpretation of natural selection and random drift? In M. Ruse & D. Hull (Eds.), The Cambridge companion to philosophy of biology (pp. 66–84). Cambridge: CUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Bub, J. (1975). Popper’s propensity interpretation of probability and quantum mechanics. In G. Maxwell & R. M. Anderson (Eds.), Induction, probability and confirmation. Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science (Vol. 6, pp. 416–429). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  19. Bub, J., & Pitowsky, I. (1985). Critical notice of Karl Popper’s postscript to the logic of scientific discovery. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 15(3), 539–552.Google Scholar
  20. Burian, R. (1983). Adaptation. In M. Grene (Ed.), Dimensions of Darwinism (pp. 286–314). Cambridge: CUP.Google Scholar
  21. Callender, C. (2007). The emergence and interpretation of probability in Bohmian mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 38(2), 351–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Carnap, R. (1950). Logical foundations of probability. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2nd edition with modifications 1962.Google Scholar
  23. Carnap, R. (1952). The continuum of inductive methods. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  24. Caves, C. M., Fuchs, C. A. & Schack, R. (2002). Quantum probabilities as Bayesian probabilities. Physical Review 65(2), 1–6. quant-ph/0106133.Google Scholar
  25. Caves, C. M., Fuchs, C. A., & Schack, R. (2002b). Unknown quantum states: The quantum de Finetti representation. Journal of Mathematical Physics, 43(9), 4537–4559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Caves, C. M., Fuchs, C. A., & Schack, R. (2007). Subjective probability and quantum certainty. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38(2), 255–274. quant-ph/0608190.Google Scholar
  27. d’Espagnat, B. (1976). Conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics (2nd ed.). Boston: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  28. de Finetti, B. (1972). Probability, induction and statistics. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  29. de Finetti, B. (1974a). Theory of probability (Vol. 1). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  30. de Finetti, B. (1974b). Theory of probability (Vol. 2). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  31. Dickey, J. M., Eaton, M. L., & Sudderth, W. D. (2009). De Finetti coherence and logical consistency. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, 50(2), 133–139.Google Scholar
  32. Drouet, I., & Merlin, F. (2014). The propensity interpretation of fitness and the propensity interpretation of probability. Erkenntnis (this volume).Google Scholar
  33. Dürr, D., Goldstein, S., & Zanghi, N. (1992). Quantum equilibrium and the origin of absolute uncertainty. Journal of Statistical Physics, 67(5/6), 843–907.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Eagle, A. (2004). Twenty-one arguments against propensity analyses of probability. Erkenntnis, 60(3), 371–416.Google Scholar
  35. Ellis, R. L. (1849). Remarks on the fundamental principle of the theory of probability. Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, VIII, 1–6.Google Scholar
  36. Fetzer, J. H. (1974). A single case propensity theory of explanation. Synthese, 28(2), 171–198.Google Scholar
  37. Fetzer, J. H. (1981). Scientific knowledge: Causality, explanation and corroboration. Dordrecht: Reidel.Google Scholar
  38. Fetzer, J. H. (1982). Probabilistic explanations. In P. Asquith & T. N. Nickles (Eds.), PSA 1982 (Vol. 2, pp. 194–207). East Lansing, MI: Philosophy of Science Association.Google Scholar
  39. Fisher, R. A. (1930). The genetical theory of natural selection. Oxford: OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Frigg, R. (2008). A field guide to recent work on the foundations of statistical mechanics. In D. Rickles (Ed.), The Ashgate companion to contemporary philosophy of physics (pp. 99–196). London: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  41. Frigg, R., & Hoefer, C. (2007). Probability in GRW theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 38(2), 371–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Frigg, R., & Hoefer, C. (2013). The best Humean system for statistical mechanics. Erkenntnis (this volume).Google Scholar
  43. Galavotti, M. C. (2005). Philosophical introduction to probability. Stanford, California: CSLI Publications.Google Scholar
  44. Giere, R. (1973a). Review of Mellor’s (1971) The Matter of Chance. Ratio, 15, 149–155.Google Scholar
  45. Giere, R. (1973b). Objective single-case probabilities and the foundations of statistics. In P. Suppes, et al. (Eds.), Logic, methodology and philosophy of science IV (pp. 467–483). Amsterdam, London: North-Holland Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  46. Giere, R. (1975). The epistemological roots of scientific knowledge. In G. Maxwell & R. M. Anderson Jr (Eds.) Induction, probability, and confirmation, Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science. (Vol. VI, pp. 212–261). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  47. Giere, R. (1979). Propensity and necessity. Synthese, 40(3), 439–451.Google Scholar
  48. Gillies, D. (2000a). Philosophical theories of probability. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  49. Gillies, D. (2000b). Varieties of propensities. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 51(4), 807–835.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Glymour, B. (2001). Selection, indeterminism, and evolutionary theory. Philosophy of Science, 68(4), 518–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Graves, L., Horan, B. L., & Rosenberg, A. (1999). Is indeterminism the source of the statistical character of evolutionary theory? Philosophy of Science, 66(1), 140–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Hacking, I. (1965). Logic of statistical inference. Cambridge: CUP.Google Scholar
  53. Hájek, A. (2003). What conditional probability could not be? Erkenntnis, 137(3), 273–323.Google Scholar
  54. Hájek, A. (2012). Interpretations of probability. In Edward N. Zalta (Ed.) The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Summer 2012 Edition forthcoming. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2012/entries/probability-interpret/.
  55. Hamilton, W. D. (1964). The genetic evolution of social behavior. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 7(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Hemmo, M., & Shenker, O. (2014). Probability and typicality in deterministic physics. Erkenntnis (this volume).Google Scholar
  57. Hoefer, C. (2007). The third way on objective probability: A sceptic’s guide to objective chance. Mind, 116(463), 549–596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Horan, B. (1994). The statistical character of evolutionary biology. Philosophy of Science, 61(1), 76–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Howson, C. (2008), De Finetti, countable additivity, consistency and coherence. British Journal for the Philosophy of Sciece, 59(1), 1–23.Google Scholar
  60. Hubbell, S. (2001). The unified neutral theory of biodiversity and biogeography. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Humphreys, P. (1985). Why propensities cannot be probabilities. Philosophical Review, 94(4), 557–570.Google Scholar
  62. Humphreys, P. (2004). Some considerations on conditional chances. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 55(4), 667–680.Google Scholar
  63. Huneman, P. (2012). Natural selection: A case for the counterfactual approach. Erkenntnis, 76(2), 171–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Huneman, P. (2014). Inscrutability and the opacity of natural selection and random genetic drift: Distinguishing epistemic and metaphysical aspects. Erkenntnis (this volume).Google Scholar
  65. Huxley, J., Hardy, H. C., & Ford, E. B. (Eds.). (1954). Evolution as a process. London: George allen.Google Scholar
  66. Jaynes, E. T. (1957). Information theory and statistical mechanics. Physical Review, 106(4), 620–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Jeffreys, H. (1961). Theory of probability (3rd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  68. Johnson, W. E. (1932). Probability: The relations of proposal to supposal; Probability: Axioms; Probability: The deductive and the inductive problems. Mind, 41, 1–16, 281–296, 409–423.Google Scholar
  69. Keynes, J. M. (1921). Treatise on probability. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  70. Kolmogorov, A. N. (1933/1950). Foundations of the theory of probability (N. Morrison, Trans.). New York: Chelsea Publishing.Google Scholar
  71. Krips, H. (1989). A propensity interpretation of quantum probabilities. The Philosophical Quarterly, 39(156), 308–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Landsman, N. P. (2009). Born rule and its interpretation. In D. Greenberger, K. Hentschel, & F. Weinert (Eds.), Compendium of quantum mechanics. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  73. Lewis, D. (1986). Philosophical papers (Vol. 2). Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  74. Maher, P. (2010). Explication of inductive probability. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 39(6), 593–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Matthen, M. (2009). Drift and ‘statistically abstractive explanation’. Philosophy of Science, 76(4), 464–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Matthen, M., & Ariew, A. (2002). Two ways of thinking about natural selection. Journal of Philosophy, 49(2), 55–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Matthen, M., & Ariew, A. (2009). Selection and causation. Philosophy of Science, 76(2), 201–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Mellor, D. H. (1969). Chance-I. In D. H. Mellor & J. Walting (Eds.), Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, supplementary volumes (Vol. 43, pp. 11–36).Google Scholar
  79. Mellor, D. H. (1971). The matter of chance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  80. Mellor, D. H. (1995). The facts of causation. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Metz, J. A. J., Nisbet, R. M., & Geritz, S. A. H. (1992). How should we define fitness for general ecological scenarios. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 7(6), 198–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Michod, R. E. (2000). Darwinian dynamics (New ed.). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Miller, D. (1991). Single-case probabilities. Foundations of Physics, 21(12), 1501–1516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Miller, D. (1994). Critical rationalism: A restatement and defence. La Salle, Ill: Open Court.Google Scholar
  85. Mills, S., & Beatty, J. (1979). The propensity interpretation of fitness. Philosophy of Science, 46(2), 263–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Millstein, R. (2003). Interpretations of probability in evolutionary theory. Philosophy of Science, 70(5), 1317–1328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Mises, von R. (1928). Probability, statistics and truth. (2nd rev. English edn.). London: George Allen & Unwin (1961).Google Scholar
  88. Morrison, M. (2002). Modelling populations: Pearson and Fisher on Mendelism and biometry. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 53(1), 39–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Peirce, C. S. (1910/2011). A note on the doctrine of chances. In J. Buchler (Ed.), Philosophical writings of pierce (pp. 164–172). New Dover, 2011.Google Scholar
  90. Pitowsky, I. (2003). Betting on the outcomes of measurements: A Bayesian theory of quantum probability. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 34(3), 395–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Popper, K. R. (1957). The propensity interpretation of the calculus of probability, and quantum theory. In S. Körner (Ed.), Observation and interpretation in the philosophy of physics (pp. 65–70). New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  92. Popper, K. R. (1959). The propensity interpretation of probability. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 10(37), 25–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Popper, K. R. (1967). Quantum mechanics without ‘the observer’. In M. Bunge (Ed.), Quantum theory and reality (pp. 7–44). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  94. Popper, K. R. (1990). A world of propensities. Bristol: Thoemmes.Google Scholar
  95. Psillos, S. (1999). Scientific realism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  96. Ramsey, F. P. (1926/1990). Truth and probability. Reprinted In D. H. Mellor (Ed.), Frank Ramsey: Philosophical papers. Cambridge: CUP, 1990.Google Scholar
  97. Redhead, M. (1987). Incompleteness, nonlocality and realism: A prolegomenon to the philosophy of quantum mechanics. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  98. Reichenbach, H. (1949). The theory of probability. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  99. Rosenberg, A. (1994). Instrumental biology or the disunity of science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  100. Rosenberg, A. (2001). Discussion note: Indeterminism probability, and randomness in evolutionary theory. Philosophy of Science, 68(4), 536–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Rosenthal, J. (2006). Karl Popper’s propensity interpretation of probability. In I. Jarvie, K. Milford, & D. Miller (Eds.), Karl Popper: A centenary assessment (Vol. 3). Aldershot, UK: Science.Google Scholar
  102. Rosenthal, J. (2010). The natural-range conception of probability. In G. Ernst & A. Hüttemann (Eds.), Time, chance and reduction: Philosophical aspects of statistical mechanics (pp. 71–91). Cambridge: CUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Rosenthal, J. (2012). Probabilities as ratios of ranges in initial-state spaces. Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 21(2), 217–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Sella, G., & Hirsh, A. E. (2005). The application of statistical physics to evolutionary biology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 102, 9541–9546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Sober, E. (1984). The nature of selection. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  106. Sober, E. (2001). The two faces of fitness. In R. S. Singh, C. B. Krimbas, D. P. Paus, & J. Beatty (Eds.), Thinking about evolution: Historical, philosophical, and political perspectives (pp. 309–321). Cambridge: CUP.Google Scholar
  107. Strevens, M. (2011). Probability out of determinism. In C. Beisbart & S. Hartmann (Eds.), Probabilities in physics (pp. 339–364). Oxford: OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Strevens, M. (2014). Stochastic independence and causal connection. Erkentnnis (this volume).Google Scholar
  109. Suarez, M. (2013). Propensities and pragmatism. The Journal of Philosophy, 110(2), 61–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  110. Venn, J. (1866). The logic of chance. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  111. Vineberg, S. (2011). Dutch Book Arguments. In Edward N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Summer 2011 Edition. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2011/entries/dutch-book/.
  112. von Kries, J. (1886). Die Principien der Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.Google Scholar
  113. Walsh, D. M. (2007). The pomp of superfluous causes: The interpretation of evolutionary theory. Philosophy of Science, 74(3), 281–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  114. Walsh, D. M. (2010). Not a sure thing: Fitness probability and causation. Philosophy of Science, 77(2), 141–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  115. Walsh, D. M. (2014). Variance, invariance and statistical explanation. Erkenntnis (this volume).Google Scholar
  116. Walsh, D. M., Lewens, T., & Ariew, A. (2002). Trials of life: Natural selection and random drift. Philosophy of Science, 69(3), 452–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. Woodward, J. (2003). Making things happen: A theory of causal explanation. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IHPST, University of Toronto, Victoria CollegeTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Institut d’Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques, CNRS/Université Paris I SorbonneParisFrance

Personalised recommendations