Book Recommendation: The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability Before Pascal by James Franklin

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Before Blaise Pascal and peers gave us the calculus of logic, the only tool to truth was rhetoric as a verbal logical ‘syllogism’. Once, two assertions by sufficiently credible elites constituted proof. Then, torture was a half-proof. Pilate released Christ to the demotic crowd for insufficient proof.

Now rhetoric is dismissed as though it is eristic seeking to discredit the opponent regardless of truth or validity.

Contents Preface to the 2015 Edition

1. The Ancient Law of Proof Egypt and Mesopotamia The Talmud Roman Law: Proof and Presumptions Indian Law

2.   The Medieval Law of Evidence: Suspicion, Half-proof, and Inquisition Dark Age Ordeals The Gregorian Revolution The Glossators Invent Half-proof Presumptions in Canon Law Grades of Evidence and Torture The Postglossators Bartolus and Baldus: The Completed Theory The Inquisition Law in the East

3. Renaissance Law Henry VIII Presumed Wed Tudor Treason Trials Continental Law: The Treatises on Presumptions The Witch Inquisitors English Legal Theory and the Reasonable Man

4. The Doubting Conscience and Moral Certainty Penance and Doubts The Doctrine of Probabilism Suarez: Negative and Positive Doubt Grotius, Silhon, and the Morality of the State Hobbes and the Risk of Attack The Scandal of Laxism English Casuists Pursue the Middle Way Juan Caramuel Lobkowitz, Prince of Laxists Pascal’s Provincial Letters

5. Rhetoric, Logic, Theory The Greek Vocabulary of Probability The Sophists Sell the Art of Persuasion Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Logic The Rhetoric to Alexander Roman Rhetoric: Cicero and Quintilian Islamic Logic The Scholastic Dialectical Syllogism Probability in Ordinary Language Humanist Rhetoric Late Scholastic Logics

6. Hard Science Observation and Theory Aristotle’s Not-by-Chance Argument Averaging of Observations in Greek Astronomy The Simplicity of Theories Nicole Oresme on Relative Frequency Copernicus Kepler Harmonizes Observations Galileo on the Probability of the Copernican Hypothesis

7. Soft Science and History The Physiognomics Divination and Astrology The Empiric School of Medicine on Drug Testing The Talmud and Maimonides on Majorities Vernacular Averaging and Quality Control Experimentation in Biology The Authority of Histories The Authenticity of Documents Valla and the Donation of Constantine Cano on the Signs of True Histories

8. Philosophy: Action and Induction Carneades’s Mitigated Skepticism The Epicureans on Inference from Signs Inductive Skepticism and Avicenna’s Reply Aquinas on Tendencies Scotus and Ockham on Induction Nicholas of Autrecourt The Decline of the West Bacon and Descartes: Certainty? or Moral Certainty? The Jesuits and Hobbes on Induction Pascal’s Deductivist Philosophy of Science

9. Religion: Laws of God, Laws of Nature The Argument from Design The Church Fathers Inductive Skepticism by Revelation John of Salisbury Maimonides on Creation Are Laws of Nature Necessary? The Reasonableness of Christianity Pascal’s Wager

10. Aleatory Contracts: Insurance, Annuities, and Bets The Price of Peril Doubtful Claims in Jewish Law Olivi on Usury and Future Profits Pricing Life Annuities Speculation in Public Debt Insurance Rates Renaissance Bets and Speculation Lots and Lotteries Commerce and the Casuists

11. Dice Games of Chance in Antiquity The Medieval Manuscript on the Interrupted Game Cardano Gamblers and Casuists Galileo’s Fragment De Méré and Roberval The Fermat-Pascal Correspondence Huygens’ Reckoning in Games of Chance Caramuel

12. Conclusion Subsymbolic Probability and the Transition to Symbols Kinds of Probability and the Stages in Discovering Them Why Not Earlier? Two Parallel Histories The Genius of the Scholastics and the Orbit of Aristotle The Place of Law in the History of Ideas Conclusion and Moral

Epilogue: The Survival of Unquantified Probability The Port-Royal Logic Leibniz’s Logic of Probability To the Present

Appendix: Review of Work on Probability before 1660

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