Understanding Uncertainty

Overview

A lively and informal introduction to the role of uncertainty and probability in people's lives from an everyday perspective

From television game shows and gambling techniques to weather forecasting and the financial markets, virtually every aspect of modern life involves situations in which the outcomes are uncertain and of varying qualities. But as noted statistician Dennis Lindley writes in this distinctive text, "We want you to face up to uncertainty, not hide it away under ...

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Overview

A lively and informal introduction to the role of uncertainty and probability in people's lives from an everyday perspective

From television game shows and gambling techniques to weather forecasting and the financial markets, virtually every aspect of modern life involves situations in which the outcomes are uncertain and of varying qualities. But as noted statistician Dennis Lindley writes in this distinctive text, "We want you to face up to uncertainty, not hide it away under false concepts, but to understand it and, moreover, to use the recent discoveries so that you can act in the face of uncertainty more sensibly than would have been possible without the skill."

Accessibly written at an elementary level, this outstanding text examines uncertainty in various everyday situations and introduces readers to three rules—craftily laid out in the book—that prove uncertainty can be handled with as much confidence as ordinary logic. Combining a concept of utility with probability, the book insightfully demonstrates how uncertainty can be measured and used in everyday life, especially in decision-making and science.

With a focus on understanding and using probability calculations, Understanding Uncertainty demystifies probability and:
* Explains in straightforward detail the logic of uncertainty, its truths, and its falsehoods
* Explores what has been learned in the twentieth century about uncertainty
* Provides a logical, sensible method for acting in the face of uncertainty
* Presents vignettes of great discoveries made in the twentieth century
* Shows readers how to discern if another person—whether a lawyer, politician, scientist, or journalist—is talking sense, posing the right questions, or obtaining sound answers

Requiring only a basic understanding of mathematical concepts and operations, Understanding Uncertainty is useful as a text for all students who have probability or statistics as part of their course, even at the most introductory level.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a fascinating book with a very broad scope; its arguments are presented clearly and it is easy toread. It should appeal to anybody dealing with uncertainty, perhaps especially, but by no means exclusively,

to statisticians.” (Significance, 1 June 2007)

"…all modern university students….lawyers, politicians, scientists and journalists…would benefit…from reading it...Oh, and fuzzy set theorists." (Short Book Reviews, December 2006)

"…a fascinating book with a very broad scope; its arguments are presented clearly and it is easy to read." (Significance, June 2007)

"...a reference for everyone who is interested in knowing and handling uncertainty." (Journal of Applied Statistics, 2007)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118650127
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/31/2013
  • Series: Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics Series
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 695,169
  • Product dimensions: 11.40 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

DENNIS V. LINDLEY is Professor Emeritus of Statistics, and past Head of Department, at University College London (UK). He has played a leading role in putting Bayesian statistics back on the modern statistical map. He has published over 100 original and significant scholarly articles, as well as several books, that are all delightfully written and full of insights. He is a founding organizer and former president of the celebrated Valencia International Meetings on Bayesian Statistics, the 2002 meeting of which was dedicated in his honor.

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Table of Contents

1 Uncertainty 1
2 Stylistic questions 15
3 Probability 30
4 Two events 47
5 The rules of probability 59
6 Bayes rule 79
7 Measuring uncertainty 101
8 Three events 117
9 Variation 134
10 Decision analysis 158
11 Science 186
12 Examples 211
13 Probability assessment 226
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