Probability and Contracts. About Roberto Torretti's Pragmatism


  • David Teira Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)



Probability, propensity, contracts, mathematical expectation, Torretti


I want to expand the pragmatist view of probability advocated by Roberto Torretti, drawing on the propensity approach. In the first part, I will show how the concept of mathematical expectation originally formalized an Aristotelian principle of justice. In the second half, I will present the game-theoretic approach to probability developed by Shafer and Vovk, showing how it allows us to interpret the original normativity of mathematical expectations. I will finally discuss how this latter view contributes to a pragmatist understanding of probability, as Torretti advocates, although with broader foundations than the physical symmetries of standard propensities.

Author Biography

David Teira, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)

Ph.D. University College London

AOS: Philosophy of the Social Sciences (esp. Economics), Philosophy of Medicine (esp. Evidence Based Medicine), History and Philosophy of Probability AOC: Philosophy of science, Ethics, Political philosophy EMPLOYMENT Profesor titular [Associate professor], UNED, 2009 onwards Profesor Contratado doctor, UNED, 2005-2009 Profesor ayudante doctor, Universidad de Salamanca, 2003-2005 Profesor ayudante, Universidad Europea de Madrid, 2001-2003 Profesor asociado, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 2001-2003 Honorary research fellow, STS, University College London, 2013- Visiting Professor: European School of Molecular Medicine, Milan, 2013 (2 months), 2014 (2 months), 2015 (1 month); U. Paris I, 2015 (1 month) Visiting fellow, Wellcome trust Centre for the History of Medicine (UCL), 2009 Visiting fellow, CPNSS-London School of Economics, 2007-2008 SELECTED PUBLICATIONS
Research papers “Model-Based Knowledge and Credible Policy Analysis”,in Hsiang-Ke Chao & Julian Reiss (eds.), Philosophy of Science in Practice. Nancy Cartwright and the Nature of Scientific Reasoning, Springer (Synthese Library), forthcoming. (with Hsiang-Ke Chao)

“Testing oncological treatments in the era of personalized medicine”, in G. Boniolo & M. Nathan, eds., Philosophy of Molecular Medicine, Routledge, 2017, 236-251.

“Debiasing methods and the acceptability of experimental outcomes”, Foundations of science 24.6 (2016), 722-743. “Disease-mongering through clinical trials”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 51 (2015), 11-18 (with M. González- Moreno & C. Saborido) “Choosing expert statistical advice: practical costs and epistemic justification”, Episteme 12.1 (2015), 117-129 (with J. González de Prado) "Cómo mide el riesgo el observador imparcial", Crítica 47 (2015), 47-65 (with A. Heras) “Kites: the rise and fall of a scientific object”, Nuncius. Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science, 29.2 (2014), 439-463 (with J. M. Suay) “On the impartiality of British clinical trials”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 44.3 (2013), 412-418. “Blinding and the non-interference assumption in field experiments”, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 43.3 (2013), 358-372 “A contractarian solution to the experimenter’s regress”, Philosophy of science 80 (2013), 709-720. “Causality, Impartiality and Evidence-Based Policy”, in H-K Chao, S-T, Chen & R. Millstein, Mechanism and causality in biology and economics, N.York, Springer, 2013, 207-224 (with Julian Reiss) “Why Friedman's methodology did not generate consensus among economists?”, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 31.2 (2009), 201- 214.

See more publications:,707921&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL


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How to Cite

Teira, D. (2016). Probability and Contracts. About Roberto Torretti’s Pragmatism. Revista De Humanidades De Valparaíso, (8), 251–268.




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