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The Taming Of Chance (Ideas in Context)
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The Taming Of Chance (Ideas in Context)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  91 ratings  ·  7 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 ...more
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published October 26th 1990 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1990)
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Alex Lee
In this amazing work, Ian Hacking shows us the development of statistics. At first, statistics was used to find the "laws" of society. The patterns that were discovered were then utilized to as both prediction and explanation, to calibrate both the past and the future. Out of this use, the figure of the "normal" took over. This reinforced a position by which society then sought to calibrate itself in mediocrity. The present was thus always in decay, as normal slipped away due to change. At the s ...more
This is only a piece of a much more substantial review that I hope someday to write(with all the notes in my copies margins, that may only consist of extracting some of the more cohesive thoughts that reside there). In the mean time, I assure you that if you want to understand the ways in which probability began to be applied to any number of actual events, this is a fascinating book for you.

I admit that I enjoyed the 'emergence of probability' a bit more(by the same author on the moving from n
I read it as one of the compulsory reading set once when I did my training in India. Until the first half of the book I couldn't find it enjoyable but then it turns out to be the opposite. It talks about the scientific millstone of making explanation and prediction as precise as it could be, which is not set in a chronological timeliness, but in a dialogical way instead. Once regarded promising, statistical law in social science is put into trial by the ethical and methodological concerns as wel ...more
An interesting take on how our world is ruled by a belief in randomness and the sciences that have developed in order to manage it. Primarily historical and philosophical in its treatment of the topic, it might have developed the political implications a little further, especially the collusion between science and government in the realm of statistical practice
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.
Interesting look on the move from "chance" to "probability" -- and the role of statistics in statecraft.
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Ian Hacking is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, specialised in the History of Science.

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