Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 13, 1987/1988

John Meixner
Pages 73-77

Frequencies and Possibility

A popular conception of probability for many years now has been the relative frequency interpretation, made famous by the work of Reichenbach and von Mises, and more recently by Salmon and others. The frequency view has played important roles of various sorts in virtually every area in epistemology and the philosophy of science, including explanation, causation, the justification of induction, the nature of laws and lawlike statements, and so on. A major attraction of the frequency conception has been its claim to be a strictly empirical view. In this paper we argue that on prima facie grounds the frequency view violates some of our deepest intuitions regarding the notions of probability and possibility.