Objective Probability (Frequency)

Probability > Objective Probability

What is Objective Probability?

Objective probability (also called frequency probability) is associated with random events like die rolls, choosing bingo balls, or your numbers coming up in the lottery. The term is mostly used in philosophy as a philosophical interpretation of probability, rather than a process itself.

The term “objective probability” is open for debate. Maher (2007) notes that “Since inductive probability is also objective, this is poor terminology.”

Other Interpretations of Probability

Other interpretations for probability include:

  • Best-System Interpretations: these interpretations state that probability isn’t a fundamental physical quantity, but rather a statistical summary of actual outcomes (Schwarz, 2014).
  • Classical Probability: a simple form of probability that has equal odds of something happening. For example: Rolling a fair die. It’s equally likely you would get a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.
  • Logical probability: objective, logical relations between propositions. They don’t depend on an individual or collective belief at all.
  • Subjective probability: Subjective probability is where you use your opinion to find probabilities. For example: There’s a 90% chance of your mother calling today, because her car broke down over the weekend and she’ll need a ride to the doctor.
  • Propensity Interpretations: probability is found in the real world rather than in the theoretical realm of our heads. It involves outcomes for actual physical situations.


Eells, E. (2010). The Place of Probability in Science. Springer.
E. Szabó, László (2007) Objective probability-like things with and without objective indeterminism. [Preprint]. Retrieved May 30, 2019 from: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/3956/
Alan Hájek. Interpretations of Philosophy. Article posted on website Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved May 30, 2019 from: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/probability-interpret/
Maher, P. (2007). Lecture $: Explication of Physical Probability. Retrieved May 30, 2019 from: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=
Schwarz, W. (2014). Best System Approaches to Chance. Retrieved May 30, 2019 from: https://www.umsu.de/papers/bsa.pdf

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