Certainty

(redirected from certain)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Wikipedia.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Certainty

 

a term used in probability theory, logic, epistemology, and law (theory of legal proof). In philosophical and logical-methodological investigations it is most frequently used to characterize knowledge that is valid, conclusive, or indisputable and also as a synonym for truth. In experimental natural science the term “certainty” frequently designates events and judgments that are regarded as empirically confirmed by special experiments or, more broadly, by the social and productive practice of men.

The term acquires a somewhat specialized meaning in probability theory. In so-called subjective, or personal, probability, certainty is most frequently interpreted as a concept reflecting the subject’s confidence in the correctness of his evaluation of the probability that a particular event will occur. From this point of view certainty also expresses the extent of a given individual’s knowledge about the conditions and factors contributing to or counteracting the occurrence of events. In this sense, with the exception of extremely idealized or oversimplified cases, certainty includes a considerable element of uncertainty, inasmuch as exhaustive knowledge about such conditions and factors is practically unobtainable.

A. I. RAKITOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Monsieur de Valois was the only man who could perfectly pronounce certain phrases of the olden time.
But one thing is certain; the cross of Saint-Louis authorized him to take the rank of retired colonel in view of his service in the Catholic armies of the West.
Not only did the chevalier have his own particular shells, but he cherished an ambitious desire which he pursued with a craft so profound as to be worthy of Sixtus the Fifth: he wanted to marry a certain rich old maid, with the intention, no doubt, of making her a stepping-stone by which to reach the more elevated regions of the court.
Things and men have always a certain sense, a certain side by which they must be got hold of if one wants to obtain a solid grasp and a perfect command.
Prince K was persuaded to intervene personally, and on a certain occasion gave way to a manly emotion which, all unexpected as it was, quite upset Mr.
An obscure scribe in the Secretariat had overheard a few words of a certain conversation, and had caught a glimpse of a certain report.
He glanced down his beard, and, after a moment of thoughtful silence, handed to Razumov a half-sheet of notepaper--an abbreviated note of matters already discussed, certain points of inquiry, the line of conduct agreed on, a few hints as to personalities, and so on.
It was not a young woman, it was a young fool he wished to see for a certain purpose.
Feather-headed, loquacious, excitable, one could make certain of his utter and complete indiscretion.
"It's a dream," thought Razumov, putting the little parcel into his pocket and descending the stairs; "nobody does such things." The other held him under the arm, whispering of dangers ahead, and of what he meant to do in certain contingencies.
In certain respects, the views which I shall be setting forth approximate to materialism; in certain others, they approximate to its opposite.
I believe an "unconscious" desire is merely a causal law of our behaviour,* namely, that we remain restlessly active until a certain state of affairs is realized, when we achieve temporary equilibrium If we know beforehand what this state of affairs is, our desire is conscious; if not, unconscious.