The Emergence of Probability: A Philosophical Study of Early Ideas about Probability, Induction and Statistical Inference

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 21, 1984 - Philosophy - 209 pages
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Historical records show that there was no real concept of probability in Europe before the mid-seventeenth century although the use of dice and other randomizing objects was commonplace. Ian Hacking here presents a philosophical critique of early ideas about probability, induction and statistical inference and the growth of this new family of ideas in the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The contemporary debate centres round such figures as Pascal, Leibniz and Jacques Bernoulli. What brought about the change in ideas? The author invokes in his explanation a wider intellectual framework involving the growth of science, economics and the theology of the period.
 

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Contents

An absent family of ideas
1
Duality
11
Opinion
18
Evidence
31
Signs
39
The first calculations
49
The Roannez circle
57
The great decision
63
Political arithmetic
102
Annuities
111
Equipossibility
122
Inductive logic
134
The art of conjecturing
143
The first limit theorem
154
Design
166
Induction
176

The art of thinking
73
Probability and the law
85
Expectation
92

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About the author (1984)

Ian Hacking is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He has published extensively on logic, philosophy of science, philosophy of maths and metaphysics. His most recent publications include Why Is There Philosophy of Mathematics At All? (Cambridge, 2014), Scientific Reason (2009) and Exercises in Analysis (Cambridge, 2009).

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