Hypothetical Frequencies as Approximations

Abstract

Hájek (Erkenntnis 70(2):211–235, 2009) argues that probabilities cannot be the limits of relative frequencies in counterfactual infinite sequences. I argue for a different understanding of these limits, drawing on Norton’s (Philos Sci 79(2):207–232, 2012) distinction between approximations (inexact descriptions of a target) and idealizations (separate models that bear analogies to the target). Then, I adapt Hájek’s arguments to this new context. These arguments provide excellent reasons not to use hypothetical frequencies as idealizations, but no reason not to use them as approximations.

July 14, 2022 at 08:34PM

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