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Propensity , inclination , inclination or tendency towards realization is an objectivistic interpretation of probability proposed by Karl Popper , which can already be found in Peirce's sketches. Popper developed it to solve the problem of interpreting quantum mechanics . In the propensity interpretation, probability is a measure of the tendency of an experiment to produce a certain result.

Opposite the propensity interpretation are in particular the subjectivist theory of Bayesianism , which interprets probabilities as degrees of conviction, and the objective frequency theory , in which probabilities refer to the relative frequency of the occurrence of an event in a sequence of repetitions or in an ensemble of similar processes. Scientific theoretical realists prefer objectivistic theories such as the propensity interpretation, since these make or imply statements about the real world itself and not only about the opinions of a person. In contrast to the frequency interpretation, it can also accept that probabilities also exist for individual cases and explain why they do so.

For Popper, propensities are generalized forces and thus real properties of physical systems. They are relational and do not lie in the things themselves , as is the case with the potentialities of Aristotle: If two cubes are considered, one of which has an imbalance in favor of the side opposite the 6, then the propensity of this weighted cube, in Landing in a strong gravity field after a throw with 6 on top will be significantly higher than the 1/6 observed with the other die. If you try it in a weak gravity field, however, it will be closer to 1/6.



  1. ^ The Propensity Interpretation of the Calculus of Probability and of the Quantum Theory . Popper, Karl . In Observation and Interpretation . Buttersworth Scientific Publications, Korner & Price (eds.) 1957. pp. 65-70.

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