Chapter 19: Treatise on Probability
Restricted access

Keynes was a philosopher before also becoming an economist. His 1908 Fellowship dissertation (equivalent to a PhD), after many interruptions, was published as his philosophical magnum opus, A Treatise on Probability in 1921. This advanced the logical theory of probability to replace its main contemporary rivals, the classical theory and frequency theory. In Keynes’s treatment, probability is the general theory of logic covering all situations, regardless of whether the available information is sufficient or insufficient to deliver certainty. Probability thus arises in the context of arguments from premises to conclusions, and expresses the degree of rational belief one is entitled to have in the conclusion, given the premises. The extent to which the philosophy of the Treatise on Probability influenced Keynes’s economics and politics, especially regarding uncertainty, rationality, formal analysis (mathematical and econometric), methodology and rational action, has been much discussed and debated, with divergent standpoints being taken.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Other access options

Redeem Token

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institutional Access

Personal login

Log in with your Elgar Online account

Login with your Elgar account