By Klaas Landsman, Ellen van Wolde

ISBN-10: 331926298X

ISBN-13: 9783319262987

ISBN-10: 3319263005

ISBN-13: 9783319263007

This publication provides a multidisciplinary point of view on probability, with contributions from individual researchers within the parts of biology, cognitive neuroscience, economics, genetics, common heritage, legislation, linguistics, common sense, mathematical physics, information, theology and philosophy. the person chapters are sure jointly by way of a common advent by way of a gap bankruptcy that surveys 2500 years of linguistic, philosophical, and clinical reflections on likelihood, twist of fate, fortune, randomness, success and similar concepts.

A major end that may be drawn is that, even in the end this time, we nonetheless can't be definite even if probability is a really basic and irreducible phenomenon, in that definite occasions are easily uncaused and will were in a different way, or if it is continuously easily a mirrored image of our lack of awareness. different demanding situations that emerge from this e-book contain a greater realizing of the contextuality and perspectival personality of probability (including its scale-dependence), and the curious indisputable fact that, all through heritage (including modern science), probability has been used either as a proof and as an indicator of the absence of clarification. As such, this ebook demanding situations the reader to consider probability in a brand new manner and to return to grips with this forever interesting phenomenon.

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Sample text

By contrast, differences between individuals belonging to the same species “can perhaps be the result of chance,” because matter is “a reservoir of multiple possibilities” (Thomas Aquinas 1975a, II. 39). As Norman Kretzmann has explained, for Aquinas, the existence of, say, a particular pigeon is a chance state of affairs, not because it is uncaused, but because it is “the result of an unplanned convergence of two or more previously independent series of causes” (Kretzmann 1999, 208). , 209). , 209).

And so naturally does it afford an inference directly opposite to the religious hypothesis! (Hume 1779, 168). However ingenious Hume’s triptych of possibilities, which is composed of design, chance and necessity may have been, and however modern Hume was in many other respects, with respect to biology, things turned out differently. What emerged in the late eighteenth century and culminated in the mid-nineteenth was an evolutionary account of life forms in which neither design, nor necessity, but chance would in fact provide the required explanans.

Given the developments in evolutionary biology and quantum physics of the past 150 years, it seems rather as if “chance,” “randomness,” and “coincidence” had been restored to a place of respectability that they had previously lost. Indeed, whether our personal surprise at a given event is merely a sign of personal ignorance or is instead a necessary feature of this universe has once again been elevated to the status of unresolved question. One thing is certain. Time and again, throughout our pages, it has become evident that any of the words with which we have been engaged could only be understood if we also understood the type of explanation that it attempted to exclude.

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The Challenge of Chance: A Multidisciplinary Approach from Science and the Humanities by Klaas Landsman, Ellen van Wolde


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