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Good Thinking

The Foundations of Probability and Its Applications

1983
Author:

I.J. Good

Good Thinking

For more than thirty years I. J. Good has been prodding, stimulating, criticizing, enlightening, surprising and amusing colleagues with his dazzling insights into the dark mysteries of probability and scientific inference. No one concerned with statistics or the philosophy of science can afford not to grab, ponder and preserve this marvelous, long-needed collection.

Martin Gardner

Good Thinking was first published in 1983.

Good Thinking
is a representative sampling of I. J. Good’s writing on a wide range of questions about the foundations of statistical inference, especially where induction intersects with philosophy. Good believes that clear reasoning about many important practical and philosophical questions is impossible except in terms of probability. This book collects from various published sources 23 of Good’s articles with an emphasis on more philosophical than mathematical.

He covers such topics as rational decisions, randomness, operational research, measurement of knowledge, mathematical discovery, artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, chess, and the nature of probability itself. In spite of the wide variety of topics covered, Good Thinking is based on a unified philosophy which makes it more than the sum of its parts. The papers are organized into five sections: Bayesian Rationality; Probability; Corroboration, Hypothesis Testing, and Simplicity; Information and Surprise; and Causality and Explanation. The numerous references, an extensive index, and a bibliography guide the reader to related modern and historic literature.

This collection makes available to a wide audience, for the first time, the most accessible work of a very creative thinker. Philosophers of science, mathematicians, scientists, and, in Good’s words, anyone who wants “to understand understanding, to reason about reasoning, to explain explanation, to think about thought, and to decide how to decide” will find Good Thinking a stimulating and provocative look at probability.

Good Thinking

I. J. Good is Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Statistics at Virginia Tech University. He has written extensively; his books include Probability and the Weighing of Evidence and The Estimation of Probabilities. He is the editor of The Scientist Speculates: An Anthology of Partly Baked Ideas.

Good Thinking

For more than thirty years I. J. Good has been prodding, stimulating, criticizing, enlightening, surprising and amusing colleagues with his dazzling insights into the dark mysteries of probability and scientific inference. No one concerned with statistics or the philosophy of science can afford not to grab, ponder and preserve this marvelous, long-needed collection.

Martin Gardner