Philosophical Theories of Probability by Donald Gillies

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By Donald Gillies

This publication provides a finished and systematic account of some of the philosophical theories of chance and explains how they're comparable. It covers the classical, logical, subjective, frequency, and propensity perspectives. Donald Gillies even presents a brand new concept of chance -the intersubjective-a improvement of the subjective concept.

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Philosophical Theories of Probability

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The eighteenth century was after all the age of reason, but the same could not be said of the twentieth century. What has been characteristic of the twentieth century is on the one hand the use of a mathematical and scientific apparatus far exceeding in power anything that existed in the eighteenth century, but on the other the prevalence of outbursts of violence and of beliefs with no rational or scientific foundation. An obvious case of this contradiction is Hitler’s Germany, where the country’s skills in mathematics and science were used to run an industry of outstanding efficiency, whereas the dominant racial ideology of the Nazis was without any scientific basis at all.

1959:74). Russell did not actually have a post at Cambridge University during this period, but he did remain in touch with the Apostles. He was indeed collaborating for much of the time with one of them (Whitehead). It was not until October 1910 that Russell returned to Cambridge as a fellow of Trinity College and lecturer in the principles of mathematics. However, he would undoubtedly have had many discussions with Keynes, even during the period 1903–10. Russell says in his autobiography: ‘I first knew Keynes through his father ...

We have only to substitute for a moral individual wondering what action will produce the greatest amount of good a business man wondering what investment will bring him the greatest amount of profit. Once again the business man can only reasonably calculate the short-term profits of his investment, and these might in some cases be outweighed by long-term losses. This concludes my account of the intellectual milieu in which Keynes’s ideas on probability took shape. In the next section I will begin my exposition of the ideas themselves.

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