What’s a chance event? Contrasting different senses of ‘chance’ with Aristotle’s idea of meaningful unusual accidents





Aristotle, chance, contingency, indeterminism, tychē


In this article, I present and explain ten different possible meanings of a chance event – some ontological, some epistemic – and provide examples whenever possible. I describe and illustrate more carefully the view of chance (tychē) expressed by Aristotle in his Physics, a demanding and complex notion, and contrast it to the other senses examined. The etymology of chance also reveals a cross-reference between chance and indeterminism. I draw attention to the fact that most of the definitions of chance on offer need not conflict with causal determinism.


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Author Biography

Alexander Maar, Universidade Estadual de Londrina

I'm a philosophy lecturer and researcher. I completed my doctorate in philosophy at the University of Auckland (New Zealand), and graduated in philosophy from the University of Trento (Italy). In my PhD thesis I discuss the application of David Lewis’s philosophy of causation to problems in analytic philosophy of history. My philosophical interests include the role and logic of explanations in history, the metaphysics of causation, and general philosophy of science. As a teaching fellow at Londrina State University, Dept. of Philosophy (Brazil), I lecture a range of undergraduate courses, including epistemology and ethics.


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How to Cite

Maar, A. (2022). What’s a chance event? Contrasting different senses of ‘chance’ with Aristotle’s idea of meaningful unusual accidents. Revista Archai, (32), e03203. https://doi.org/10.14195/1984-249X_32_03