The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability before Pascal

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9781421418803: The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability before Pascal

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 dealing with uncertainty and explores the coming to consciousness of the human understanding of risk.

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About the Author:

James Franklin is a professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of New South Wales.

Review:

"A remarkable book. Mr. Franklin writes clearly and exhibits a wry wit. But he also ranges knowledgeably across many disciplines and over many centuries."

(Wall Street Journal)

"The Science of Conjecture opens an old chest of human attempts to draw order from havoc and wipes clean the rust from some cast-off classical tools that can now be reused to help build a framework for the unpredictable future."

(Science)

"Franklin's style is clear and fluent, with an occasional sly Gibbonian aside to make the reader chuckle."

(New Criterion)

"An admirably accessible study written in a crisp prose. It presents the reader with anarching historical perspective throughout many a century of human action."

(Giora Hon Centaurus)

"Franklin gives a magisterial account of matters as diverse as the Talmud, Justinian's Digest, torture, witch hunts, Tudor treason trials, ancient and medieval astronomy and physics, humanist historiography, scholastic philosophy, speculations in public debt, and 17th century mathematics. His treatment of medieval law is among the best I have ever read."

(International Journal of Evidence and Proof)

"Franklin's book is magnificent... Think of [it] as a non-fiction equivalent of Tolstoy's War and Peace."

(Peter Tillers The Jurist)

"The Science of Conjecture is a masterly work, beautifully written, and based on encyclopaedic research... It is simply a tour de force that is unlikely to be surpassed for many a year."

(Barry Miller The Thomist)

"Statistics teachers who like to sprinkle a little history and philosophy into their classes will find much here to delight and challenge them... This is a serious and scholarly work that I expect often will inform my teaching."

(Richard J. Cleary Journal of the American Statistical Association)

"[This book has given me] sheer enjoyment in its density of strange information, in the wit and clarity if its writing, and in the vigour of its argumentation. I recommend it unreservedly to all interested in its subject."

(Oliver Mayo Australian and New Zealand Journal of Statistics)

"This is the intellectual book of the year, and it ought to become one of the great classics of intellectual history."

(Scott Campbell Interdisciplinary Science Reviews)

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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