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chance, in mathematics: see probabilityprobability,
in mathematics, assignment of a number as a measure of the "chance" that a given event will occur. There are certain important restrictions on such a probability measure.
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Chance arises from the existence of physical or social processes which involve random events, a multiplicity of interacting variables in ‘open systems’ (including the changeability of actors' choices), and because actors’ intentions often have UNANTICIPATED CONSEQUENCES. While an inherent CONTINGENCY in social events is seen by some theorists as ruling out general theories, this neglects the availability of generalized ‘probabilistic’ accounts and the fact that it is the goal of general theories to abstract from particular events (and provide EXPLANATION or analytical frameworks), not necessarily to predict or control events.
- the PROBABILITYof an event, such as the occurrence of heads or tails on the toss of a coin.
- social or physical outcomes which are unforseen and perhaps inherently unpredictable.
Coping with chance in social life is a source of MAGIC and RELIGION and the basis of important leisure forms, including games of chance and GAMBLING. See also RISK SOCIETY.
ChanceBridoison, Taiel de
judge who casts dice to decide cases. [Fr. Lit.: Pantagruel]
lake-dwelling sorceress and personification of chance. [Ital. Lit.: Orlando Innamorato]
Jimmy the Greek
goddess of chance. [Rom. Myth.: Kravitz, 58]
renowned American oddsmaker. [Am. Culture: Wallechinsky, 468]
suicidal gamble involving a six-shooter, loaded with one bullet. [Folklore: Payton, 590]
Three Princes of Serendip
god of chance. [Rom. Myth.: Espy, 42–43]
Urim and Thummin
always make discoveries by accident. [Br. Lit.: Three Princes of Serendip]
oracular gems used for casting lots, set in Aaron’s breastplate. [O.T.: Exodus 28:30; Leviticus 8:8]
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