Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

Main page

Philosophy, chance.  ---  .Introduction or summary.  Various types of risk situations.  PART ONE.  The basic risk situation can be described as a function where there is an input and then there is an output, possibly either a positive output or a negative output.  In other words, one places a bet and one has the chance of winning or losing.  In other words, one makes a wager on the outcome of an event.  There are various types of risk situations.  Some of the types of risk situations include the following:  PART ONE.  Situations concerning the type of inputs and outputs.  (A) Input is of same type as output.  For example, gambling an input of money, with a possible positive output of gaining more money, but with the possible negative output of losing money. Vs.  (B) Input is of different type as output.  For example, gambling an input of money, with the possible positive output of gaining a raffle prize, but with the possible output of losing both your money and the confidence of your financially risk averse mate.     PART TWO.  Situations concerning the amounts of input versus output.  (A) Situations where the amount of input is the same as the amount as output.  For example, risking 10 dollars, with the opportunity of gaining 10 dollars.  (B) Input is of lesser amount that possible outputs.  (C) Input is of greater amount than output.   PART THREE.  Situations concerning the amount of positive output versus negative output. (A) Positive output same amount as negative output.  Vs.  (B) Positive output is more amount than negative output.  (C) Positive output is less amount than negative output.  PART FOUR.  Situations of single inputs vs. multiple inputs.  Situations of single output vs. multiple outputs.  For example, simple games usually have a single input and a single output.  Complex situations, like life, usually have multiple inputs and multiple outputs.  PART FIVE.  (1) Purely random situations.  (A) No degree of probability.  (B) No knowledge of probability is had by the players.  (2) Situations that are not purely random.  (A) Some degree of probability.  (B) Some degree of the knowledge of the probability is had by the players.     PART SIX.  When one speaks of the "odds", two phenomenon are involved:  (1) The human-determined probabilities that humans make via educated guesses.  (2) The actual probabilities, determined by the laws of physics.  (3) The difference between 1 and 2 is a function of how much knowledge or certainty humans have of the situation.  (4) Any control of the situation by humans, or interference by humans with the situation,, will change the odds.  PART SEVEN.  There is no guarantee, when you put in an input, that there exists the possibility of both a positive output and a negative output.  Situations where the output type can only be positive are called "you cannot lose" situations.  Situations where the output type can only be negative are called "no win" situations.  PART EIGHT.  Situations of uncertainty and certainty.(1) Total uncertainty means (A) no knowledge of output result types or amounts, and (B) no knowledge of the probability of the output occurring (or result resulting).  (2) Total certainty means, (A) Complete knowledge (absolutely sure) of the types and amounts of the output result, and (B) complete knowledge (absolutely sure) of the probability of the output occurring.  ---  11/7/2004

Philosophy, chance.  ---  .This section is about chance.  Topics include: ( ) Chance.  ( ) Danger.  ( ) Luck.  ( ) Opportunity.  ( ) Probability.  ( ) Risk.  ---  1/24/2006

Philosophy, chance.  ---  (1) In the English language the word "chance" means "possibility of good or bad".  The word "risk" means "chance of bad happening".  But there is no word that means "chance of good happening".  "Opportunity" perhaps comes closest but it does not capture the random element.  This is important because it makes people pessimistic to think only about risks all the time.  Viva the upside!  (2) A risk has an element of uncertainty of occurrence.  An opportunity exists whether you take advantage of it or not.  (3) The closest phrase we have is "chance something good will happen".  "Risk" being "chance something bad will happen".  "Opportunity" being "something good waiting to happen".  ---  9/5/1998

Philosophy, chance.  ---  (1) Knowledge of probability.  (2) Degree certainty or uncertainty.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  (1) Metaphysics and risk.  For any action in any situation, what is at risk (stakes) and what is the degree of risk (probability) for each?  What is the upside (gain) and downside (loss)?  (2) Ethics and risk.  Given the above situation, the question is: should you take (accept) the risk?  ---  4/29/2001

Philosophy, chance.  ---  (1) Simplest form of chance is single input and single outcomes of the same type.  (2) When inputs and outcomes are of different types it makes chance more complicated.  For example, bet money to win a prize rather than money.  (3) Multiple inputs and multiple outcomes also make chance more complicated.  ---  5/24/2002

Philosophy, chance.  ---  (1) The odds that the best odds-maker can give.  (2) The actual metaphysical odds.  (3) The variance between the two is called what?  ---  5/24/2002

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Chance, risk and ?.  Some people say that the opposite of risk is luck.  Others tend to think of luck as a neutral term, there being both good luck and bad luck.  If luck is the opposite of risk, that is, if we consider luck to be the chance of something good happening and risk the chance of something bad happening, then I say that if we build actuarial tables to assess risk then we should also, in the interest of balance and fairness, build tables to assess the luck one is likely to meet throughout their life.  For example, we all know the chances of hitting the lottery are usually several million to one, but what are the chances of falling in love?  Or what are the chances of saving someone's life?  Whatever the opposite of risk is, it is just as important to living as risk is.  ---  1/25/2001

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Chance.  (1) Given a,b,c, then what are the chances d will occur?  (2) Chance: uncontrollable vs. controllable.  (3) Chances as breaks, odds, percentages, probabilities.  (4) Chance = uncertainty, for better or worse.  (5) Anything could happen, it is scary and sad, and it is exciting and hopeful.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Chance.  You only get one chance.  Once an instance happens it will never repeat the same way.  Chance of it repeating to what degree of similarity.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Danger = potential for loss.  Loss = pain.  Loss = decay.  Loss = waste.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Danger = risk (probability, chances, odds) of a bad thing happening.  Perceived danger vs. actual danger.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Danger.  (1) Danger = chance (risk) of damage, injury, destruction or loss.  (2) Irreplaceableness or rareness.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Danger.  Caution, safety, security, and certainty vs. risk, danger, insecurity, and uncertainty.  What level of each to go on an action?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Danger.  Disasters: natural vs. manmade.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  General vocabulary:  Chance, risk, probability.  Safety vs. danger.  Fortune, luck, fate, destiny.  Opportunity.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  How is real life not like gambling?  (1)(A) In real life the inputs are infinite.  That is, in real life you can do many, many things.  (B) In gambling the inputs are finite.  That is, in gambling one is usually betting only money.   (2)(A) In real life the outputs are infinite.  That is, in real life, the results of your actions can be many and various. (B) In gambling the outputs are finite.  That is, in gambling the results are usually limited to winning or losing money.  (3)(A)(i) In real life the mechanism or process is complex.  (ii) In real life the probabilities of the process are often unknown and unlimited.  (iii) In real life the probabilities of the process are often uncontrolled.  (B)(i) In gambling the mechanism or process is simple.  There are only cards, or dice, or some other simple mechanism.  (ii) In gambling the probabilities of process are limited and known.  In gambling the probabilities are limited by the number of cards in the deck, or by sides of a die, or some other simple output.  And in gambling the probabilities of the process are known because the probabilities of a dice roll are known and the probabilities of a deck of cards are known.  (iii) In gambling the process is controlled.  For example, a casino knows the odds of a slot machine and can control the odds of a slot machine by changing the machine's internal settings.  (4) To sum up.  (A) In gambling, the inputs are money and the outputs are money.  In gambling the odds of the process are known and controlled by odds makers.  (B) In life the inputs and outputs are many and varied.  In life the odds are less known and controlled by us.  ---  10/27/2004

Philosophy, chance.  ---  If the universe is deterministic, based completely on cause and effect, then there is no objective chance (probability), and there is no objective randomness, and there is no objective freewill.  However, there may be subjective (viewer based) probability, and subjective randomness and subjective freewill.  ---  7/8/2002

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Life is an opportunity.  ---  10/25/2004

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Luck vs. skill.  The more skill and knowledge you apply, the less you rely on luck or chance.  ---  10/25/2004

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Luck.  (1) Anything can happen to anyone at anytime.  Things don't always turn out like you expect.  Best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, as the saying goes.  (2) What % of life is luck?  That depends on how big the good luck and bad luck things that happen to you are.  Example, if you hit the lotto at age 18, that's it, most of your life was luck.  (3) You can't tell how lucky you are.  Maybe you sat next to a serial killer on the subway who killed someone a minute after you got off the train.  Maybe you sat next to a million dollars in a briefcase but never saw it.  You don't know.  You can't tell.  It is tough to say.  ---  12/30/1996

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Luck.  (1) Good luck: beating the odds.  (2) Bad luck: not even reaching the odds.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Luck.  (1) Good luck.  (2) Bad luck: unlucky.  (A) Pure accident.  (B) Unavoidable vs. avoidable.  (C) Unpreventable vs. preventable.  (3) No luck: no extremely rare, chance occurrences.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Luck.  (1) Luck vs. skill and strategy.  (2) Pure luck vs. human intervention.  (3) Luck vs. effort.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Luck.  (1) Pure luck.  (2) % luck, vs. % skill involved in an event or situation.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Luck.  Bad luck as (1) Natural disaster.  (2) Injury, disease, death.  (3) Destruction of property or money.  (4) Crime victim.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Luck.  Fortune, fate, destiny.  Unavoidable destiny: determinism.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Luck.  Superstition is the belief in lucky charms, lucky spells and lucky prayers.  ---  10/25/2004

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Luck.  Two views of luck.  (1) Those who believe in luck as lucky streaks that will continue once started.  (2) Those who believe in luck as controllable by humans.  ---  9/4/1998

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Luck.  You make your own luck.  (1) Things you can do that will increase your chances.  How much effort it takes.  (2) Things you do that decrease your chances.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  One can argue that humans have evolved the ability of odds assessment.  The argument is that humans have an odds assessment module hard wired in their brains.  That is one reason why humans enjoy betting so much, because betting is an exercise in odds assessment.  Yet if we do have an odds assessment module, why are so many humans so bad at odds assessment?  ---  10/25/2004

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunities for destruction = danger.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunities multiply.  One opportunity taken advantage of can lead to others.  Combonations of opportunity put together multiply exponentially.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity = freedom to do something your way.  Freedom = opportunity.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity = what you could do (see ethics of could).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity theory is very inspirational aint it?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity to create more opportunities.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity to fu*k up.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity to succeed or fail big time.  It is up to you.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity vs. ability.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity, ability and potential.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity: health, free time, high t, abilities, being alive, money, access to tools.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity: making the most of opportunity vs. wasting opportunity completely.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity: prepare for it, recognize it, and make most of it.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity: recognize it and use it.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  (1) Metaphysics of opportunity.  People say chance when they mean opportunity:  "You have been give a chance".  Chance is really about probability and risk.  (2) Ethics of opportunity.  Choose carefully from among all your opportunities.  Make the most of the opportunities you choose.  Work on gaining more opportunities (freedom).  ---  5/20/1998

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  (1) You can have the ability but not the opportunity.  (2) You can have the opportunity but not the ability.  (3) Opportunity and ability together makes things happen.  ---  4/29/2001

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  Another chance to succeed or failure.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  Creating your own opportunities.  Take advantage of windfalls.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  Don't blow an opportunity by forgetting its importance halfway through it.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  Getting and staying aware of all of what you have and could get, and not making mistakes evaluating the value of them.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  Just because you have an opportunity does not mean you should take it.  We have many (infinite) opportunities.  We must choose which opportunities to take.  ---  10/25/2004

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  Metaphysical status of opportunity.  Ethical status of opportunity.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  Size of an opportunity vs. size of the goal the opportunity will help you reach.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  Size of an opportunity.  Duration of an opportunity.  Window of opportunity.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  Size of opportunity = directions and distances it lets you grow.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  Wasted opportunity: doing nothing, doing wrong thing, doing it half assed, destroying what you did, stopping half way through before completion.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  Wasting opportunities vs. using opportunities.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Opportunity.  You only get one chance, nothing happens twice the same way.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Order, predictable vs. randomness, chaos, unpredictable.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Probability.  (1) Probability is based on the fact that in some simple situations it is possible to mathematically determine the probable outcome of an event.  For example, rolling a pair of dice.  (2) Also, in some more complicated situations, it is possible to use induction to determine the percentage of time an event will occur.  For example, insurance actuarial tables.  (3) However, many situations in life are more complicated and there is no sure way of assessing the odds in very complicated situations.  (4) It is a mistake to live live without ever taking a chance.  It is also a mistake to live life recklessly, in the face of probabilities.  It is also a mistake to live life thinking that all the probabilities are known.  Life is often too complicated to accurately asses all the probabilities.  ---  11/12/2005

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Probability.  Predictable vs. unpredictable (unpredictable ever vs. unpredictable with our existing technology).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Probability.  Three views.  (1) Randomness view.  One view holds that there is total randomness to the world.  All acts are completely random.  This view holds that the physical laws of nature are an illusion.  This view holds that even human acts are random.  If the world was completely random then there would be no probability, or, in other words, the probability of everything would be zero.  This view is not credible.  (2) Probabilistic view.  Another view holds that there is semi-randomness.  This is the probabilisitc view.  Events have a probability of occurring.  This view holds that there is a semi-predictable nature to most events in the world.  Only a few processes are random.  Even humans seldom act randomly.   (3) Deterministic view.  A third view holds that there is no randomness in the world, in that everything follows the laws of nature.  The deterministic laws of nature assure there is not randomness.  In a deterministic universe there is no randomness.  There is only perceived randomness, when humans are unable to perceive  many complicated deterministic processes occurring at once, for example, when numbered balls spin in drum at a lottery drawing. Randomness is relative to the perceiver.  For example, when they pick lottery numbers by rotating balls in a drum, the process is only random in that it is too complicated for humans to perceive the exact cause and effect of all the moving balls at once, but the balls obey the laws of physics, and it is conceivable that in the future a powerful computer could be built that could compute the winning lottery numbers based on the starting position of the balls in the rotating drum and the centripetal force applied.  ---  10/25/2004

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk = chances = probability (for better or worse).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk = chances of positive payoff vs. chances of loss.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk = probability of good or bad thing happening (see luck, opportunity, insurance).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk and ethics.  What's at stake, and what's the risk involved.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk and uncertainty.  (1) Uncertainty.  (A) Not knowing what will happen.  Not knowing the range of types and degrees of things that could possibly occur.  (B) Not knowing the probabilities of what could occur.  (2) Risk.  Not having any stake (makes no matter to you) vs. having a big stake.  ---  10/15/1994

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk for good (opportunity) or bad (danger).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk taking and ethics (see Philosophy, chance).  When are the risks worth taking?  See insurance business, see ecological health risks.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  .See also: Psychology, emotion, bravery.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  (1) A "no risk" situation means the outcome is known with certainty.  (2) A "risk" situation means the outcome is unknown.  The possible outcomes might be known.  The probability of the possible outcomes might be known.  But the exact outcome is not known.  ---  11/12/2005

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  (1) A "take no chances", "risk nothing", completely risk averse approach to life is not recommended.  A completely risk averse approach to life is, in fact, impossible.  (2) A  "too risky", "too chancy" approach to life is also not recommended.  ---  11/12/2005

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  (1) Metaphysics of risk.  What is risk?  (2) Ethics of risk.  When is taking any given risk justified?  Danger sports, risk seekers, adrenaline junkies, gamblers.  ---  5/20/1998

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  (1) Set payoff situations.  Example, the odds of success or failure of an event.  (2) Variable payoff situations.  Example, in sports betting, money payoff changes with odds?  ---  5/20/1998

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  Ethics and risk.  Should one risk much to gain much, or be safe yet unacheiving?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  Living on the edge:  What you do there.  Why you are there.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  Objective risk (actual) vs. subjective risk (perceived).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  Odds = what the probability is.  Stakes = how much you are betting.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  People play the lottery and expect to win.  People fly in jets and expect not to die in a plane crash.  The odds for both are apparently equal.  To expect that one will happen and that the other will not is ridiculous.  ---  9/10/1999

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  Security, protection, defense, and safety vs. offense, striving, and attacking.  How safe will you play it?  Avoiding risk may mean avoiding growth.  Avoiding useless risk is good?  Who can tell what is a useless risk for who?  For young men, risk in itself builds character.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  Terminology: Opportunity.  Probabilities, chances.  Risk: to gain, to lose (danger).  Stakes: put in, get out.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  Three different types of risk situations.  (1) Win a dollar or lose the dollar.  (2) Lose a dollar or break even (stand pat).  (3) Win a dollar or stand pat.  ---  9/4/1998

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  What complicates risk analysis in the real world is that there are multiple actions you can take in a situation, and there are also multiple results (payoffs) that can occur.  In the risk analysis of simple games there is often only "single input types" and "single output types".  ---  4/3/2001

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risk.  What's at stake?  What could be gained?  What could be lost, even before you have ever had it?  What are the odds: of success, and of failure?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risks to anyone, in any situation, doing anything.  Chances of anything happening to them.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Risks you choose to take vs. risks you are forced to take.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, chance.  ---  There are things we can control.  There are things we cannot control.  ---  10/25/2004

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Three approaches to chance: risk assessment, decision theory and game theory.  ---  10/25/2004

Philosophy, chance.  ---  Uses of the word "chance".  (1) Chance as opportunity.  Example, "Give me a chance".  (2) Chance as risk.  Example, "Do not chance it".  (3) Chance as probability.  Example, "What are the chances?"  ---  4/29/2001

Main page

Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.