Editorial Introduction


The conceptualization of uncertain events as a set of possibilities each assigned a numerical value—a schema which draws on the circumstances that originally occasioned it, namely the game of chance, the die and its faces—is an enduring one. Although probability calculus was mathematically formalized in the 1930s, abstracted from this ‘occasional cause’, the spontaneous metaphysics of the gambler continue to exert an intuitive hold on thinking concerned with uncertain eventualities, colouring its interpretation and its application to diverse situations. Stripped of these semantics, the meaning of probability remains as enigmatic as ever: an idealized construct that neutralizes contingency by integrating infinite ‘trials’; or a real property, propensity, or ‘random generator’ inherent in the real but inaccessible to us? A mode of knowledge, or a limit to knowing?…