This is an introductory 2001 textbook on probability and induction written by one of the world's foremost philosophers of science. The book has been designed to offer maximal accessibility to the widest range of students (not only those majoring in philosophy) and assumes no formal training in elementary symbolic logic. It offers a comprehensive course covering all basic definitions of induction and probability, and considers such topics as decision theory, Bayesianism, frequency ideas, and the philosophical problem of induction. The key features of this book are a lively and vigorous prose style; lucid and systematic organization and presentation of ideas; many practical applications; a rich supply of exercises drawing on examples from such fields as psychology, ecology, economics, bioethics, engineering, and political science; numerous brief historical accounts of how fundamental ideas of probability and induction developed; and a full bibliography of further reading.
Ian Hacking is the winner of the Holberg International Memorial Prize 2009.
Part I. Logic: 1. Logic; 2. What is inductive logic?; Part II. How to Calculate Probabilities: 3. The gambler's fallacy; 4. Elementary probability; 5. Conditional probability; 6. Basic laws of probability; 7. Bayes' rule; Part III. How to Combine Probabilities and Utilities: 8. Expected value; 9. Maximizing expected value; 10. Decision under uncertainty; Part IV. Kinds of Probability: 11. What do you mean?; 12. Theories about probability; Part V. Probability as a Measure of Belief: 13. Personal probabilities; 14. Coherence; 15. Learning from experience; Part VI. Probability as Frequency: 16. Stability; 17. Normal approximations; 18. Significance; 19. Confidence and inductive behaviour; Part VII. Probability Applied to Philosophy: 20. The philosophical problem of induction; 21. Learning from experience as an evasion of the problem; 22. Inductive behaviour as an evasion of the problem.