Single Idea 15560

[catalogued under 10. Modality / B. Possibility / 7. Chance]

Full Idea

I think we are right to explain chance events, yet we are right also to deny that we can ever explain why a chance process yields one outcome rather than another. We cannot explain why one event happened rather than the other.

Gist of Idea

We can explain a chance event, but can never show why some other outcome did not occur


David Lewis (Causal Explanation [1986], VI)

Book Reference

Lewis,David: 'Philosophical Papers Vol.2' [OUP 1986], p.230

A Reaction

This misses out an investigation which slowly reveals that a 'chance' event wasn't so chancey after all. Failure to explain confirms chance, so the judgement of chance shouldn't block attempts to explain.