Dynamic Probability and the Problem of Initial Conditions

Forthcoming: Synthese special issue All Things Reichenbach.

Abstract: Dynamic approaches to understanding probability in the non-fundamental sciences turn on certain properties of physical processes that are apt to produce probabilistically patterned outcomes. The dynamic properties on their own, however, seem not quite sufficient to explain the patterns; in addition, some sort of assumption about initial conditions must be made, an assumption that itself typically takes a probabilistic form. How should such a posit be understood? That is the problem of initial conditions. Reichenbach, in his doctoral dissertation, floated a Kantian solution to the problem. In this paper I provide a Reichenbachian alternative.

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