The science of conjecture: Evidence and probability before Pascal

Baltimore, USA: Johns Hopkins University Press (2001)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
How were reliable predictions made before Pascal and Fermat's discovery of the mathematics of probability in 1654? What methods in law, science, commerce, philosophy, and logic helped us to get at the truth in cases where certainty was not attainable? The book examines how judges, witch inquisitors, and juries evaluated evidence; how scientists weighed reasons for and against scientific theories; and how merchants counted shipwrecks to determine insurance rates. Also included are the problem of induction before Hume, design arguments for the existence of God, and theories on how to evaluate scientific and historical hypotheses. It is explained how Pascal and Fermat's work on chance arose out of legal thought on aleatory contracts. The book interprets pre-Pascalian unquantified probability in a generally objective Bayesian or logical probabilist sense.
ISBN(s)
0801871093   1421418800   0801865697
PhilPapers/Archive ID
FRATSO
Upload history
Archival date: 2019-10-06
View other versions
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
191 ( #26,064 of 55,807 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
73 ( #9,105 of 55,807 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.