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Alexander Franklin (KCL): ‘Weather Probabilities are Ontic and Objective’

11 March, 3:00 pm4:30 pm

This will be a hybrid lecture: you can attend in person in our usual LAK 2.06 seminar room, or on Zoom:

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Meeting ID: 852 3006 9457
Passcode: 297258

Title: Weather Probabilities are Ontic and Objective

Abstract: In this talk I argue that at least some of the probabilities used to describe the weather are both ontic and objective, notwithstanding that in some cases predictions could be improved by more precise knowledge of the microstate. I start with the familiar analysis of a chaotic model and show that, with appropriate coarse graining, reliable statistics emerge that screen off lower-level details. I then discuss the recent physics literature on ‘spontaneous stochasticity’ (see e.g. doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevResearch.2.043161), this appeals to renormalisation group techniques to demonstrate the convergence of probability distributions. According to an account of emergence I’ve developed with Katie Robertson (https://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/19912/), probabilities in both cases may be thought of as ontic, and the convergence of distributions establishes a form of objectivity. I conclude by suggesting that such probabilities are compatible with a number of different approaches to the metaphysics of chance.

Alexander Franklin is a philosopher of physics at Kings College London and a regular member of the Sigma Club.


11 March
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Event Category:




LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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