Classical Probability in the Enlightenment

Author: Lorraine Daston

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691006444

Category: History

Page: 423

View: 6340

What did it mean to be reasonable in the Age of Reason? Classical probabilists from Jakob Bernouli through Pierre Simon Laplace intended their theory as an answer to this question--as "nothing more at bottom than good sense reduced to a calculus, " in Laplace's words. In terms that can be easily grasped by nonmathematicians, Lorraine Daston demonstrates how this view profoundly shaped the internal development of probability theory and defined its applications.What did it mean to be reasonable in the Age of Reason? Classical probabilists from Jakob Bernouli through Pierre Simon Laplace intended their theory as an answer to this question--as "nothing more at bottom than good sense reduced to a calculus, " in Laplace's words. In terms that can be easily grasped by nonmathematicians, Lorraine Daston demonstrates how this view profoundly shaped the internal development of probability theory and defined its applications.

Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment

Author: Michel Delon

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1135960054

Category: Reference

Page: 1500

View: 5854

First Published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Interpreting Probability

Controversies and Developments in the Early Twentieth Century

Author: David Howie

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781139434379

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 6480

The term probability can be used in two main senses. In the frequency interpretation it is a limiting ratio in a sequence of repeatable events. In the Bayesian view, probability is a mental construct representing uncertainty. This 2002 book is about these two types of probability and investigates how, despite being adopted by scientists and statisticians in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Bayesianism was discredited as a theory of scientific inference during the 1920s and 1930s. Through the examination of a dispute between two British scientists, the author argues that a choice between the two interpretations is not forced by pure logic or the mathematics of the situation, but depends on the experiences and aims of the individuals involved. The book should be of interest to students and scientists interested in statistics and probability theories and to general readers with an interest in the history, sociology and philosophy of science.

The Emergence of Probability

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

Author: Ian Hacking

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107268850

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 8238

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 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. Hacking invokes a wide intellectual framework involving the growth of science, economics, and the theology of the period. He argues that the transformations that made it possible for probability concepts to emerge have constrained all subsequent development of probability theory and determine the space within which philosophical debate on the subject is still conducted. First published in 1975, this edition includes an introduction that contextualizes his book in light of developing philosophical trends. Ian Hacking is the winner of the Holberg International Memorial Prize 2009.

The Empire of Chance

How Probability Changed Science and Everyday Life

Author: Gerd Gigerenzer,Zeno Swijtink,Theodore Porter,Lorraine Daston,John Beatty,Lorenz Kruger

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107393000

Category: Political Science

Page: N.A

View: 1979

The Empire of Chance tells how quantitative ideas of chance transformed the natural and social sciences, as well as daily life over the last three centuries. A continuous narrative connects the earliest application of probability and statistics in gambling and insurance to the most recent forays into law, medicine, polling and baseball. Separate chapters explore the theoretical and methodological impact in biology, physics and psychology. Themes recur - determinism, inference, causality, free will, evidence, the shifting meaning of probability - but in dramatically different disciplinary and historical contexts. In contrast to the literature on the mathematical development of probability and statistics, this book centres on how these technical innovations remade our conceptions of nature, mind and society. Written by an interdisciplinary team of historians and philosophers, this readable, lucid account keeps technical material to an absolute minimum. It is aimed not only at specialists in the history and philosophy of science, but also at the general reader and scholars in other disciplines.

Flesh in the Age of Reason

Author: Roy Porter

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0141912251

Category: Philosophy

Page: 592

View: 6723

'As an introduction to early modern thinking and the impact of past ideas on present lives, this book can find few equals and no superiors. Porter is a witty, humane writer with an extraordinary vocabulary and a sparkling sense of fun. Whether he is quoting from obscure medical texts or analysing scabrous diaries, dishing the dirt on long-dead bigwigs or evoking sympathy for human suffering, his grasp is masterly and his erudition appealing. I wish I could read it again for the first time: you can.' Times Educational Supplement, Book of the Week In this startlingly brilliant sequel to the prize-winning ENLIGHTENMENT Roy Porter completes his lifetime's work, offering a magical, enthusiastic and charming account of the writings of some of the most attractive figures ever to write English.

Combinatorics: Ancient & Modern

Author: Robin Wilson,John J. Watkins

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191630632

Category: Mathematics

Page: 392

View: 5967

Who first presented Pascal's triangle? (It was not Pascal.) Who first presented Hamiltonian graphs? (It was not Hamilton.) Who first presented Steiner triple systems? (It was not Steiner.) The history of mathematics is a well-studied and vibrant area of research, with books and scholarly articles published on various aspects of the subject. Yet, the history of combinatorics seems to have been largely overlooked. This book goes some way to redress this and serves two main purposes: 1) it constitutes the first book-length survey of the history of combinatorics; and 2) it assembles, for the first time in a single source, researches on the history of combinatorics that would otherwise be inaccessible to the general reader. Individual chapters have been contributed by sixteen experts. The book opens with an introduction by Donald E. Knuth to two thousand years of combinatorics. This is followed by seven chapters on early combinatorics, leading from Indian and Chinese writings on permutations to late-Renaissance publications on the arithmetical triangle. The next seven chapters trace the subsequent story, from Euler's contributions to such wide-ranging topics as partitions, polyhedra, and latin squares to the 20th century advances in combinatorial set theory, enumeration, and graph theory. The book concludes with some combinatorial reflections by the distinguished combinatorialist, Peter J. Cameron. This book is not expected to be read from cover to cover, although it can be. Rather, it aims to serve as a valuable resource to a variety of audiences. Combinatorialists with little or no knowledge about the development of their subject will find the historical treatment stimulating. A historian of mathematics will view its assorted surveys as an encouragement for further research in combinatorics. The more general reader will discover an introduction to a fascinating and too little known subject that continues to stimulate and inspire the work of scholars today.

Formations of the Secular

Christianity, Islam, Modernity

Author: Talal Asad

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804783098

Category: Religion

Page: 280

View: 5183

Opening with the provocative query “what might an anthropology of the secular look like?” this book explores the concepts, practices, and political formations of secularism, with emphasis on the major historical shifts that have shaped secular sensibilities and attitudes in the modern West and the Middle East. Talal Asad proceeds to dismantle commonly held assumptions about the secular and the terrain it allegedly covers. He argues that while anthropologists have oriented themselves to the study of the “strangeness of the non-European world” and to what are seen as non-rational dimensions of social life (things like myth, taboo, and religion),the modern and the secular have not been adequately examined. The conclusion is that the secular cannot be viewed as a successor to religion, or be seen as on the side of the rational. It is a category with a multi-layered history, related to major premises of modernity, democracy, and the concept of human rights. This book will appeal to anthropologists, historians, religious studies scholars, as well as scholars working on modernity.

Histories of Scientific Observation

Author: Lorraine Daston,Elizabeth Lunbeck

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226136787

Category: History

Page: 460

View: 3367

Includes bibliographical referrences and index.

Rationality for Mortals

How People Cope with Uncertainty

Author: Gerd Gigerenzer

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199890129

Category: Philosophy

Page: 256

View: 3031

Gerd Gigerenzer's influential work examines the rationality of individuals not from the perspective of logic or probability, but from the point of view of adaptation to the real world of human behavior and interaction with the environment. Seen from this perspective, human behavior is more rational than it might otherwise appear. This work is extremely influential and has spawned an entire research program. This volume (which follows on a previous collection, Adaptive Thinking, also published by OUP) collects his most recent articles, looking at how people use "fast and frugal heuristics" to calculate probability and risk and make decisions. It includes a newly writen, substantial introduction, and the articles have been revised and updated where appropriate. This volume should appeal, like the earlier volumes, to a broad mixture of cognitive psychologists, philosophers, economists, and others who study decision making.

The Oxford Handbook of Behavioral Economics and the Law

Author: Eyal Zamir,Doron Teichman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199397953

Category: Psychology

Page: 496

View: 8778

The past twenty years have witnessed a surge in behavioral studies of law and law-related issues. These studies have challenged the application of the rational-choice model to legal analysis and introduced a more accurate and empirically grounded model of human behavior. This integration of economics, psychology, and law is breaking exciting new ground in legal theory and the social sciences, shedding a new light on age-old legal questions as well as cutting edge policy issues. The Oxford Handbook of Behavioral Economics and Law brings together leading scholars of law, psychology, and economics to provide an up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of this field of research, including its strengths and limitations as well as a forecast of its future development. Its 29 chapters organized in four parts. The first part provides a general overview of behavioral economics. The second part comprises four chapters introducing and criticizing the contribution of behavioral economics to legal theory. The third part discusses specific behavioral phenomena, their ramifications for legal policymaking, and their reflection in extant law. Finally, the fourth part analyzes the contribution of behavioral economics to fifteen legal spheres ranging from core doctrinal areas such as contracts, torts and property to areas such as taxation and antitrust policy.

Historical Disasters in Context

Science, Religion, and Politics

Author: Andrea JANKU,Gerrit Schenk,Franz Mauelshagen

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136476253

Category: History

Page: 312

View: 6089

Growing concerns about climate change and the increasing occurrence of ever more devastating natural disasters in some parts of the world and their consequences for human life, not only in the immediately affected regions, but for all of us, have increased our desire to learn more about disaster experiences in the past. How did disaster experiences impact on the development of modern sciences in the early modern era? Why did religion continue to play such an important role in the encounter with disasters, despite the strong trend towards secularization in the modern world? What was the political role of disasters? Historical Disasters in Context illustrates how past societies coped with a threatening environment, how societies changed in response to disaster experiences, and how disaster experiences were processed and communicated, both locally and globally. Particular emphasis is put on the realms of science, religion, and politics. International case studies demonstrate that while there are huge differences across cultures in the way people and societies responded to disasters, there are also many commonalities and interactions between different cultures that have the potential to alter the ways people prepare for and react to disasters in future. To explain these relationships and highlight their significance is the purpose of this volume.

Acting under Uncertainty

Multidisciplinary Conceptions

Author: George M. von Furstenberg

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9401578737

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 486

View: 325

Uncertainty could be associated with wisdom, enterprise, and discovery. In ordinary speech, however, it has mostly negative connotations. There is "fear of the unknown" and "ignorance is bliss;" there are maxims to the effect that "what you don't know doesn't hurt you" (or: "bother you") in several languages. This volume suggests that we need be bothered by the excessive confidence with which scientists, particularly social scientists, present some of their conclusions and overstate their range of application. Otherwise many of the questions that should be raised about all the major uncertainties attending a particular issue routinely may continue to be thwarted or suppressed. Down playing uncertainty does not lead to more responsible or surer action, it sidetracks research agendas, and leaves the decision makers exposed to nasty surprise. This volume demonstrates that recognizing the many forms of uncertainty that enter into the development of any particular subject matter is a precondition for more responsible choice and deeper knowledge. Our purpose is to contribute to a broader appreciation of uncertainty than regularly accorded in any of the numerous disciplines represented here. The seventeenth-century French philosopher Descartes, quoted in this volume, wrote that "whoever is searching after truth must, once in his life, doubt all things; insofar as this is possible. " White areas left on maps of the world in past centuries were a much more productive challenge than marking the end of the known world with the pillars of Hercules.

The Power of Knowledge

How Information and Technology Made the Modern World

Author: Jeremy Black

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 030019854X

Category: History

Page: 504

View: 5131

Information is power. For more than five hundred years the success or failure of nations has been determined by a country’s ability to acquire knowledge and technical skill and transform them into strength and prosperity. Leading historian Jeremy Black approaches global history from a distinctive perspective, focusing on the relationship between information and society and demonstrating how the understanding and use of information have been the primary factors in the development and character of the modern age. Black suggests that the West’s ascension was a direct result of its institutions and social practices for acquiring, employing, and retaining information and the technology that was ultimately produced. His cogent and well-reasoned analysis looks at cartography and the hardware of communication, armaments and sea power, mercantilism and imperialism, science and astronomy, as well as bureaucracy and the management of information, linking the history of technology with the history of global power while providing important indicators for the future of our world.

The Book on Games of Chance

The 16th-Century Treatise on Probability

Author: Gerolamo Cardano

Publisher: Courier Dover Publications

ISBN: 048680898X

Category: Games & Activities

Page: 64

View: 4614

Mathematics was only one area of interest for Gerolamo Cardano ― the sixteenth-century astrologer, philosopher, and physician was also a prolific author and inveterate gambler. Gambling led Cardano to the study of probability, and he was the first writer to recognize that random events are governed by mathematical laws. Published posthumously in 1663, Cardano's Liber de ludo aleae (Book on Games of Chance) is often considered the major starting point of the study of mathematical probability. The Italian scholar formulated some of the field's basic ideas more than a century before the better-known correspondence of Pascal and Fermat. Although his book had no direct influence on other early thinkers about probability, it remains an important antecedent to later expressions of the science's tenets.

Science and Medicine in the Scottish Enlightenment

Author: Charles W. J. Withers,Paul Wood

Publisher: Birlinn Limited

ISBN: N.A

Category: History

Page: 364

View: 8532

Writing to Dugald Stewart in June 1789, Thomas Jefferson enthused that as far as science was concerned, no place in the world can pretend to a competition with Edinburgh. Yet, despite similar encomiums down the years, the role of the natural sciences and medicine in the Scottish Enlightenment is still neither generally appreciated nor fully understood. This collection of ten essays by scholars in the field provides a comprehensive overview of the place of scientific and medical enquiry in Scotland during the period 1690-1815. Each chapter presents new research in order to reflect upon previous interpretations and to suggest fresh perspectives on the relationship between science and medicine and culture and society in 18th-century Scotland. Collectively, the essays illustrate both the centrality of natural and medical knowledge in enlightened culture and the wider implications of Scotland's story for an understanding of science and medicine in the modern world.

Napoleon: On War

Author: Bruno Colson

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191508772

Category: History

Page: 560

View: 7580

This is the book on war that Napoleon never had the time or the will to complete. In exile on the island of Saint-Helena, the deposed Emperor of the French mused about a great treatise on the art of war, but in the end changed his mind and ordered the destruction of the materials he had collected for the volume. Thus was lost what would have been one of the most interesting and important books on the art of war ever written, by one of the most famous and successful military leaders of all time. In the two centuries since, several attempts have been made to gather together some of Napoleon's 'military maxims', with varying degrees of success. But not until now has there been a systematic attempt to put Napoleon's thinking on war and strategy into a single authoritative volume, reflecting both the full spectrum of his thinking on these matters as well as the almost unparalleled range of his military experience, from heavy cavalry charges in the plains of Russia or Saxony to counter-insurgency operations in Egypt or Spain. To gather the material for this book, military historian Bruno Colson spent years researching Napoleon's correspondence and other writings, including a painstaking examination of perhaps the single most interesting source for his thinking about war: the copy-book of General Bertrand, the Emperor's most trusted companion on Saint-Helena, in which he unearthed a Napoleonic definition of strategy which is published here for the first time. The huge amount of material brought together for this ground-breaking volume has been carefully organized to follow the framework of Carl von Clausewitz's classic On War, allowing a fascinating comparison between Napoleon's ideas and those of his great Prussian interpreter and adversary, and highlighting the intriguing similarities between these two founders of modern strategic thinking.

The Moral Authority of Nature

Author: Lorraine Daston,Fernando Vidal

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226136820

Category: Science

Page: 526

View: 3941

For thousands of years, people have used nature to justify their political, moral, and social judgments. Such appeals to the moral authority of nature are still very much with us today, as heated debates over genetically modified organisms and human cloning testify. The Moral Authority of Nature offers a wide-ranging account of how people have used nature to think about what counts as good, beautiful, just, or valuable. The eighteen essays cover a diverse array of topics, including the connection of cosmic and human orders in ancient Greece, medieval notions of sexual disorder, early modern contexts for categorizing individuals and judging acts as "against nature," race and the origin of humans, ecological economics, and radical feminism. The essays also range widely in time and place, from archaic Greece to early twentieth-century China, medieval Europe to contemporary America. Scholars from a wide variety of fields will welcome The Moral Authority of Nature, which provides the first sustained historical survey of its topic. Contributors: Danielle Allen, Joan Cadden, Lorraine Daston, Fa-ti Fan, Eckhardt Fuchs, Valentin Groebner, Abigail J. Lustig, Gregg Mitman, Michelle Murphy, Katharine Park, Matt Price, Robert N. Proctor, Helmut Puff, Robert J. Richards, Londa Schiebinger, Laura Slatkin, Julia Adeney Thomas, Fernando Vidal

The Emergence of Probability

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

Author: Ian Hacking

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521685573

Category: History

Page: 209

View: 8675

Includes a new introduction, contextualizing his book in light of new work and philosophical trends.