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The Empire of Chance

The Empire of Chance
How Probability Changed Science and Everyday Life

Part of Ideas in Context

  • Date Published: November 1990
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521398381

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The book provides a welcome introduction to the main historical themes of probability, statistics and inference. It is, at the same time, impressive in its range and subject-matter and in its depth of analysis.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 1990
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521398381
    • length: 360 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Acknowledgments
    Introduction
    1. Classical probabilities, 1660–1840
    2. Statistical probabilities, 1820–1900
    3. The inference experts
    4. Chance and life: controversies in modern biology
    5. The probabilistic revolution in physics
    6. Statistics of the mind
    7. Numbers rule the world
    8. The implications of chance
    References
    Name index
    Subject index.

  • Authors

    Gerd Gigerenzer, Universität Konstanz, Germany

    Zeno Swijtink, State University of New York, Buffalo

    Theodore Porter, University of Virginia

    Lorraine Daston, Brandeis University, Massachusetts

    John Beatty, University of Minnesota

    Lorenz Kruger, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany

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