Hugh Mellor (Cambridge): “Chances and Conditionals”

In a projected book, “Most Counterfactuals Are False”, Alan Hájek infers the truth of its title from the ubiquity of chance. I argue in this talk that he is wrong: the ubiquity of chance does not verify his title: chances do not falsify counterfactuals. Single-case chances are perfectly consistent with determinism, i.e. with hidden variables that make relevant counterfactuals safe (i.e. truth-preserving). Not even indeterminism enables chances to stop these counterfactuals being safe and, for some values of the chances, knowably so.

Hugh Mellor is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge.