Age of Chance: Gambling in Western Culture (Routledge by Gerda Reith

By Gerda Reith

This interesting and broad examine, enlivened by way of interviews with British and American gamblers, may be enchanting interpreting not only for these attracted to the cultural and social implications of playing - researchers in sociology, cultural reviews and the historical past of rules - yet for somebody drawn to how we create which means in an more and more insecure international.

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Additional resources for Age of Chance: Gambling in Western Culture (Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought, Number 22)

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Thus players’ deliberate seeking out of the gambling environment is portrayed as a symbolic testing of their luck, whose implications reach far beyond the immediate game and into the wider uncertainty of life in an Age of Chance. In this way then, The Age of Chance attempts to examine the phenomenon of gambling in both its historical and contemporary forms; in relation to social structure and to individual consciousness, and, from the analysis of its many separate fragments, attempts to arrive at a picture of it that is a ‘totality not a collection’ and which, in its essential form, reveals something fundamental about western society.

5). The solution to these problems would have to wait another century; time for an intellectual climate change in which the concepts of numbers, averages and signs as evidence would clear the way for probabilistic reasoning. The concept of the average—vital for the development of the notion of expectation—was developed by Pascal in the seventeenth century, and in it the solutions to Cardano’s puzzles were eventually found. THE AGE OF REASON: THE BIRTH OF PROBABILITY The eventual emergence of probability theory in the mid-seventeenth century was an intellectual development long overdue, and represented the victory of Scientia—scientific understanding—over Fortuna—luck, fate or some other form of providential belief.

3, p. 10). The word ‘chance’ literally refers to that which falls to us; a sense which is still evident today when we speak of the fall of the cards or dice, or of good or bad fortune befalling an individual. Chance and divination From the symbiotic relation of chance to notions of fate and divine providence derives the efficacy of divination as a means of communicating with the transcendent ‘beyond’. Regarded as meaningless in itself, in divination ritual, chance operates as a cypher for the expression of the will of the gods, and it is in this crucial relationship that the earliest conceptions of chance are to be THE IDEA OF CHANCE 15 understood.

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