The Science of Conjecture

Evidence and Probability Before Pascal

Recommended by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #67 in Probability

How did we make reliable predictions 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? In The Science of Conjecture, James Franklin 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.

The Science of Conjecture provides a history of rational methods of...

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb AuthorAs a practitioner of probability, I've had to read many books on the subject. Most are linear combinations of other books and ideas rehashed without real understanding that the idea of probability harks back to the Greek pisteuo (credibility) [and pithanon that led to probabile in latin] and pervaded classical thought. Almost all of these writers made the mistake to think that the ancients were not into probability. And most books such as "Against the Gods" are not even wrong about the notion of probability: odds on coin flips are a mere footnote. Same with current experiments with psychology... (Source)

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