F. P. Ramsey's 1922 Cambridge Magazine Review of J M Keynes's A Treatise on Probability (1921): An Intellectual Quagmire

13 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2016

See all articles by Michael Emmett Brady

Michael Emmett Brady

California State University, Dominguez Hills

Date Written: June 4, 2016

Abstract

Ramsey’s 1922 “review” of J M Keynes’s A Treatise on Probability (1921) is an intellectual mess. Ramsey fails to score even one point against Keynes. It was most likely published because of Ramsey’s alleged reputation as the “boy genius”. There are myriad errors in the review. For just one instance, consider the claim that Part III of the A Treatise on Probability relies only on Mills’ Method of Agreement. This would mean that Keynes only considered a concept of similarity, a concept that Ramsey had no clue about. In fact, Keynes’s analysis is based on degrees of similarity and dissimilarity. It is quite impossible to understand Part III if the reader has not mastered the Boolean framework erected by Keynes in Part II. Ramsey did not have the slightest clue about the interval estimate approach used by Keynes in Part II of the TP. Ramsey had no idea that Keynes rejected the axiom of additivity except in the special case where the weight of the evidence, w, equaled one and the decision maker had linear probability preferences.

Keywords: interval valued probability,conditional probability,analogy

JEL Classification: B10, B12, B20, B22

Suggested Citation

Brady, Michael Emmett, F. P. Ramsey's 1922 Cambridge Magazine Review of J M Keynes's A Treatise on Probability (1921): An Intellectual Quagmire (June 4, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2790449 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2790449

Michael Emmett Brady (Contact Author)

California State University, Dominguez Hills ( email )

1000 E. Victoria Street, Carson, CA
Carson, CA 90747
United States

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