Mauricio Suárez (Complutense University of Madrid)
"Propensities and Pragmatism"
In this first lecture I outline a general pragmatist conception of propensity and defend it against common objections to the propensity interpretation of probability, prominently Humphreys’ paradox. I review the paradox, and identify one of its key assumptions, the identity thesis which states that propensities are probabilities (under a suitable interpretation of Kolmogorov’s axioms). I argue that the identity thesis is involved in many empiricist versions of the propensity interpretation deriving from Popper’s original and influential proposal, and makes such interpretations untenable. As an alternative, I offer a version of a pragmatist conception of dispositional probabilities, which rejects the identity thesis.
Gillies, D. (2000), Philosophical Theories of Probability, Routledge: London
Suárez, M. (2013) “Propensities and Pragmatism”, Journal of Philosophy, vol. CX (2): pp. 61-92.