Chance Debugged


  • Daniel Dohrn HU Berlin


Mots-clés :

chance, probabilité, survenance humienne, Big Bad Bug


A ‘Big Bad Bug’ threatens Lewis’s Humean metaphysics of chance (Lewis 1986a, p. XIV); his Principal Principle provides an intuitive link between chance and credence. Yet on the one hand, certain future developments are incompatible with the true theory of chance, but on the other hand, such future developments have a positive chance to occur. The combination of these two claims with the Principal Principle leads to inconsistent credences. I present a Humean solution to the Bug: chances are relative to a limited perspective. The perspective comprises facts available as evidence to an ideal cognizer at a point in space-time. As a consequence, the same future event can have different chances of occurring provided the perspective is different. I show how this dissolves the Bug.


Bigelow, John, Collins, John, Pargetter, Robert. 1993. The Big Bad Bug: What Are the Humean’s Chances?. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 44, 443-462. Lien

Briggs, Rachael. 2009. The Anatomy of the Big Bad Bug. Noûs, 43, 428-449. Lien

Enoch, David, Schechter, Joshua. 2008. How are Basic Belief-Forming Methods Justified?. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 74, 547-579. Lien

Frigg, Roman, Hoefer, Carl. 2010. Determinism and Chance from a Humean Perspective. Stadler, Friedrich et al. (ed.). The Present Situation in the Philosophy of Science. Dordrecht: Springer. 351-371. Lien

Hall, Ned. 1994. Correcting the Guide to Objective Chance. Mind, 103, 505-517. Lien

Halpin, John. 1998. Lewis, Thau, and Hall on Chance and the Best-System Account of Law. Philosophy of Science, 65, 349-360. Lien

Hoefer, Carl. 1997. On Lewis’s Objective Chance: ‘Humean Supervenience Debugged’. Mind, 106, 321-334. Lien

Hoefer, Carl. 2007. The Third Way on Objective Probability: A Sceptic’s Guide to Objective Chance. Mind, 116, 549-596. Lien

Ismael, Jennan. 2008. Raid! The Big, Bad Bug Dissolved. Noûs, 42, 292-307. Lien

Ismael, Jennan. 2011. A Modest Proposal About Chance. Journal of Philosophy, 108, 416-442. Lien

Lewis, David. 1986a. A Subjectivist’s Guide to Objective Chance. In Philosophical Papers: Volume II. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 83-132. Lien

Lewis, David. 1986b. Counterfactual Dependence and Time’s Arrow, Postscripts to ‘Counterfactual Dependence and Time’s Arrow’. In Philosophical Papers: Volume II. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 32-66. Lien

Lewis, David. 1994. Humean Supervenience Debugged. Mind, 103, 473-490. Lien

Loewer, Barry. 2004. David Lewis’s Humean Theory of Objective Chance. Philosophy of Science, 71, 1115-1125. Lien

Meacham, Christopher J.G. 2010. Two Mistakes Regarding the Principal Principle. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 61, 407-431. Lien

Roberts, John. 2001. Undermining Underminded: Why Humean Supervenience Never Needed to Be Debugged (Even If It’s a Necessary Truth). Philosophy of Science, 68, S98-S108. Lien

Schaffer, Jonathan. 2003. Principled Chances. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 54, 27-41. Lien

Schaffer, Jonathan. 2007. Deterministic Chance. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 58, 113-140. Lien

Schechter, Joshua, Enoch, David. 2006. Meaning and Justification: The Case of Modus Ponens. Noûs, 40, 687-715. Lien

Strevens, Michael. 1995. A Closer Look at the ‘New’ Principle. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 46, 545-561. Lien

Strevens, Michael. 1999. Objective Probability as a Guide to the World. Philosophical Studies, 95, 243-275. Lien

Thau, Michael. 1994. Undermining and Admissibility. Mind, 103, 491-503. Lien

Vranas, Peter. 2002. Who’s Afraid of Undermining: Why the Principal Principle Might Not

Contradict Humean Supervenience. Erkenntnis, 57, 151-174. Lien

Vranas, Peter. 2005. Have Your Cake and Eat It Too: The Old Principal Principle Reconciled with the New. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 69, 368-382. Lien




Comment citer

Dohrn, Daniel. 2021. « Chance Debugged ». Lato Sensu: Revue De La Société De Philosophie Des Sciences 8 (2):6-14.