What is Probability?

A Gentle Introduction to the Foundations and Philosophy of Probability

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NOTE: This course is included in the site-wide bundle which unlocks every course in the Academy.


“But for us, probability is the very guide of life."

- (Bishop Joseph Butler)

Probability concepts are important in everyday reasoning about chance and uncertainty, in the formal methods of inductive logic and scientific reasoning, and in philosophical arguments of many different kinds. They are also important in understanding the literature on cognitive biases in human reasoning, which often involve systematic violations of the basic rules of probability theory.

In this course I give you a guided tour of issues in the philosophy of probability (what IS a probability? what do probability statements MEAN?).

What Will I Learn in This Course?

In this course you'll learn:

  • why probability concepts are important for critical thinking
  • the distinction between interpretations of the probability concept, and the formal rules for reasoning with probabilities
  • arguments for and against the most popular interpretations of the probability concept, including
    • classical probability
    • logical probability
    • frequency interpretations
    • subjective (Bayesian) probability
    • propensity interpretations

What Do I Get With This Course?

When you enroll in this course you get

  • 8 video lectures, totaling 1 hour and 15 minutes of viewing time
  • Full transcripts for each of the lectures, embedded below the videos
  • Discussion comments for each of the lectures, allowing you to ask and respond to questions and comments
  • A pdf ebook pages suitable for printing or viewing on a desktop computer or tablet device

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