The Logic of Chance: An Essay on the Foundations and Province of the Theory of Probability, with Especial Reference to Its Application to Moral and Social Science

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Macmillan, 1866 - Chance - 370 pages
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Page 315 - It is seldom, if ever, between a consequent and a single antecedent, that this invariable sequence subsists. It is usually between a consequent and the sum of several antecedents; the concurrence of all of them being requisite to produce, that is, to be certain of being followed by, the consequent. In such cases it is very common to single out one only of the antecedents under the denomination of Cause, calling the others merely Conditions.
Page 356 - In a given state of society, a certain number of persons must put an end to their own life. This is the general law; and the special question as to who shall commit the crime depends, of course, upon special laws; which, however, in their total action, must obey the large social law to which they are all subordinate. And the power of the larger law is so irresistible, that neither the love of life nor the fear of another world can avail anything towards even checking its operation.
Page 132 - Caesar, or of any other man. For suppose a number of common facts so and so circumstanced, of which one had no kind of proof, should happen to come into one's thoughts; every one would, without any possible doubt, conclude them to be false. And the like may be said of a single common fact.
Page 356 - ... suicide is merely the product of the general condition of society, and that the individual felon only carries into effect what is a necessary consequence of preceding circumstances. In a given state of society a certain number of persons must put an end to their own lifeĢ. This is the general law, and the special question as to who shall commit the crime...
Page 94 - were to determine to play for their whole property, what would be the effect of this agreement ? The one would only double his fortune, and the other reduce his to naught. What proportion is there between the loss and the gain ? The same that there is between all and nothing. The gain of the one is but a moderate sum, — the loss of the other is numerically infinite, and morally so great that the labour of his whole life may not perhaps suffice to restore his property.
Page 316 - The cause, then, philosophically speaking, is the sum total of the conditions, positive and negative, taken together; the whole of the contingencies of every description, which being realized, the consequent invariably follows.
Page 68 - ... at different times. The belief produced by some strong argument •may be very decisive at the moment, but it will often begin to diminish when the argument is not actually before the mind. It is like being dazzled by a strong light; the impression still remains, but begins almost immediately to fade away. I think that this is the case, however we try to limit the sources of our conviction. 9. (II) But supposing that it were possible to strike a sort of average of this fluctuating state, should...
Page 346 - The science of human nature is of this description. It falls far short of the standard of exactness now realized in Astronomy; but there is no reason that it should not be as much a science as Tidology is, or as Astronomy was when its calculations had only mastered the main phenomena, but not the perturbations.
Page 327 - Though there be no such thing as chance in the world, our ignorance of the real cause of any event has the same influence on the understanding and begets a like species of belief or opinion.
Page 67 - ... accurately the dependence of the different parts upon one another. Directly we begin to think of the amount of our belief, we have to think of the arguments by which it is produced — in fact, these arguments will intrude themselves without our choice. As each in turn flashes through the mind, it modifies the strength of our conviction ; we are like a person listening to the confused hubbub of a crowd, where there is always something arbitrary in the particular sound we choose to listen to....

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