The Taming of Chance

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 31, 1990 - History - 264 pages
4 Reviews
In this important new study Ian Hacking continues the enquiry into the origins and development of certain characteristic modes of contemporary thought undertaken in such previous works as his best selling Emergence of Probability. Professor Hacking shows how by the late nineteenth century it became possible to think of statistical patterns as explanatory in themselves, and to regard the world as not necessarily deterministic in character. Combining detailed scientific historical research with characteristic philosophic breath and verve, The Taming of Chance brings out the relations among philosophy, the physical sciences, mathematics and the development of social institutions, and provides a unique and authoritative analysis of the "probabilization" of the Western world.
  

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Review: The Taming Of Chance (Ideas in Context)

User Review  - Joe - Goodreads

Some of the most understandable, eloquent prose about science I've ever read. Wish I had a better background in philosophy to appreciate it more. Hacking looks at how statistics developed into a central element of modern science and logic. Read full review

Review: The Taming Of Chance (Ideas in Context)

User Review  - Michael - Goodreads

Interesting look on the move from "chance" to "probability" -- and the role of statistics in statecraft. Read full review

Contents

The argument
1
The doctrine of necessity
11
Public amateurs secret bureaucrats
16
Bureaux
27
The sweet despotism of reason
35
The quantum of sickness
47
The granary of science
55
Suicide is a kind of madness
64
Society prepares the crimes
115
The astronomical conception of society
125
The mineralogical conception of society
133
The most ancient nobility
142
Cassirers thesis
150
The normal state
160
As real as cosmic forces
170
The autonomy of statistical law
180

The experimental basis of the philosophy of legislation
73
Facts without authenticity without detail without control without value
81
By what majority?
87
The law of large numbers
95
Regimental chests
105
A chapter from Prussian statistics
189
A universe of chance
200
Notes
216
Index
257
Copyright

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About the author (1990)

Ian Hacking holds the chair of philosophy and history of scientific concepts at the College de France. Until recently he was a University Professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is the author of many books, including Representing and Intervening, The Taming of Chance, Probability and Inductive Logic, and most recently Historical Ontology. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Academy of Arts and Science, and the British Academy. In 2004 he was elected a Companion of the Order of Canada. He is also the winner of the Holberg International Memorial Prize 2009.

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