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Some Applications Of Probability

Probability theory thus continues to be a vigorous area of research. Moreover, its advances have myriad ramifications. Probability is explicitly used in many of our best scientific theories, for example, quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics. It is also implicit in much of our theorizing. A central notion in evolutionary biology is "fitness," or expected number of offspring. Psychologists publish their conclusions with significance levels attached. Agricultural scientists perform analyses of variance on how effective fertilizers are in increasing crop yields. Economists model currency exchange rates over time as stochastic processes—that is, sequences of random variables. In cognitive science and philosophy, probability functions model states of opinion. Since probability theory is at the heart of decision theory, it has consequences for ethics and political philosophy. And assuming, as many authors do, that decision theory provides a good model of rational decision-making, it apparently has implications for even mundane aspects of our daily lives. In short, probability is ubiquitous. Bishop Butler's dictum is truer today than ever.


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Alan Hájek

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