Hypothetical Frequencies as Approximations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1295–1325
Number of pages31
Issue number4
Early online date13 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2022.


Dive into the research topics of 'Hypothetical Frequencies as Approximations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this