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Showing posts from December 1, 2002
Remora LI learned our probability theory from the Dover Press edition of Richard Von Mises book on same. At the time, we did not realize that Von Mises was presenting a much controverted thesis on probability -- that he represented the extreme point of the extensional school. von Mises was the brother of the conservative economist -- although, according to his biography, he was definitely not hedged about by his brother's libertarian ideology. He gave up an honor given to him by East Germany with the admission that he would have taken it if the times -- the year was 1952 -- didn't make any truck with the communists automatically suspicious. James Rizzo, in this essay on expected utility , gives a good overview of the difference between the view that that probability refers to the frequency of the observation of an event's occurence in a series of observations, and the 'subjectivist' view, which makes a softer case for the meaning of likelihood. &
Dope James and Dickens Only a short time ago it might have been supposed that the English novel was not what the French call discutable. It had no air of having a theory, a conviction, a consciousness of itself behind it-of being the expression of an artistic faith, the result of choice and comparison. I do not say it was necessarily the worse for that; it would take much more courage than I possess to intimate that the form of the novel, as Dickens and Thackeray (for instance) saw it had any taint of incompleteness. It was, however, na�f (if I may help myself out with another French word)... -- Henry James, The art of fiction . LI, yesterday, contended that the first chapter of Our Mutual Friend could be put up against Dickens great first chapters -- that of Bleak House, of David Copperfield, and of Great Expectations. Of these, OMF is most like BH in its blending together of nature -- in the case of Bleak House, London fog; in the case of OMF, the Thames River -- and the pol
Dope My friend S. and I were talking about Christmas movies. I mentioned a cartoon version of the Christmas Carol that I remember, still, with great affection -- the affection one feels for those tv shows of childhood in which the memory is less of the show itself than of the very experience of watching it, of being, in retrospect, that small body so consciously cocooned in the warmth, the sofa, the pjs, the accumulated stuff -- embodying a family history of purchases, breakages, hobbies taken up and abandoned, and the crude taste for the adornments of mass merchandizing characteristic of middle class America - of some room in your house that is all turned, like the minds eye gazing at the image of the self, towards the pictures that might show on the tv screen, that box's weirdly animating presence, while outside the window the clouds are gray, low and full of the odious promise of chill. My friend S. is from Istanbul. She had never heard of the Christmas Carol. Now, t