Foto del docente

Maria Carla Galavotti

Professor emeritus

Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna


Keywords: Philosophy of science Causality Epistemology Explanation Probability


Galavotti's research moves along two main directions.

On the one hand, it focuses on the foundations of probability and statistics, with special emphasis on the philosophical aspects of probability and its interpretation. Her book Philosophical Introduction to Probability explores the debate over the foundations of probability calling attention to the distinctive features of the major interpretations of probability, including the classical theory of P.S. de Laplace, frequentism, propensionism, logicism and subjectivism.

Galavotti has devoted a number of writings to investigate the origins of the subjective theory with the work of Frank Ramsey and Bruno de Finetti. The collection of Frank Ramsey’s previously unpublished manuscripts, edited under the title Notes on Philosophy, Probability and Mathematics (Naples: Bibliopolis, 1991) has been very well received.

Recently, Galavotti has made an attempt at reconstructing a distinctive trend which she calls the "European tradition in probabilistic epistemology" in the writings of a number of authors including Janina Hosiasson, Bruno de Finetti, Harold Jeffreys, Frank Ramsey and Hans Reichenbach.

On the other hand, her research addresses the nature and limits of scientific explanation, and its relationship with prediction and causation. Ever since the Hempelian “received view”, the debate on explanation has been constantly growing and presently covers a wide array of views on what “explaining” amounts to in different scientific disciplines. Such debate intertwines with that on probabilistic causality and the related issues of description, prediction and intervention; the nature and role of scientific laws; and the nature and possible uses of evidence in the sciences.

The list of Galavotti's publications comprises over 160 titles, including articles in leading international peer-reviewed journals; various books and collections.