On illusions in the estimation of probabilities

  • Andrew I. Dale
Part of the Sources in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences book series (SOURCES, volume 13)


The mind, like the sense of sight, has its illusions [1]; and just as touch corrects those of the latter, so thought and calculation α correct the former. Probability based on daily experience, or exaggerated by fear or hope, affects us more than a larger probability that is only a simple result of calculation. Thus, in return for small gains, we have no fear at all in exposing our lives to risks much less unlikely than the drawing of a quine in the French lottery; and yet one would not choose to get the same benefits, with the certainty of losing one’s life if a quine were to occur [2].


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew I. Dale
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mathematical StatisticsUniversity of NatalDurban, NatalRepublic of South Africa

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