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Mathematics - Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes | Risk and Meaning

Risk and Meaning

Adversaries in Art, Science and Philosophy

Bouleau, Nicolas

2011, VII, 302 p. 161 illus., 75 illus. in color.

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  • Stimulates both the eyes and the intellect
  • An original and unusual marriage of science and art
  • Shows how concepts of chance affect all aspects of our lives and culture
  • Reveals how scientific questions and ideas are taken up in creative works

This richly illustrated book is an exploration of how chance and risk, on the one hand, and meaning or significance on the other, compete for the limelight in art, in philosophy, and in science. In modern society, prudence and probability calculation permeate our daily lives. Yet it is clear for all to see that neither cautious bank regulations nor mathematics have prevented economic crises from occurring time and again. Nicolas Bouleau argues that it is the meaning we assign to an event that determines the perceived risk, and that we generally turn a blind eye to this important fact, because the word "meaning" is itself awkward to explain. He tackles this fundamental question through examples taken from cultural fields ranging from painting, architecture, and music, to poetry, biology, and astronomy. This enables the reader to view overwhelming risks in a different light. Bouleau clarifies that the most important thing in a time of uncertainty is to think of prudence on a higher level, one that truly addresses the various subjective interpretations of the world.

Content Level » Popular/general

Keywords » Chance and Risk - History of Science - How Scientific Progress Affects Creative Processes - Interaction of Science and Culture - Meaning and Significance

Related subjects » Philosophy - Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes

Table of contents 

Entrance: Interpretation and Paradigms.- I. Cicero and Divination.- II. Cournot’s "Philosophic Probabilities".- III. Mathematical Probabilities.- IV. Democracy by Chance.- V. Gestalt, Structure, Pattern.- VI. The Third Dimension of Risk.- VII. ''Modern" Architecture.- VIII. The Ideal City.- IX. Daring the Abstract in Art.- X. Saussure or the Dread of Mathematical Probabilities.- XI. Jacques Monod’s Roulette.- XII. From Fortuitism to Animism.- XIII. The Slip as Fortuity and Meaning.- XIV. Guessing Astronomy.- XV. The Legitimacy of Science and Love.- Hints and Index.

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