Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Review of The Blank Swan: The End of Probability by Elie Ayache

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Philosophy, Epistemology
Intriguing Connections: The Style of Math

Short Description

Elaborate Description

Probability is about potential world states.  But reality is about contingences that happen.  Events that are actualized.  That are written.  That fill in the blank spaces.  In contrast to the impact of highly unexpected events deemed Black Swans, or the highly expected events of White Swans, the processes of reality are Blank Swans.  Neither about probabilities nor about possibilities.  They are the events that happen.  Possibility is a metaphysical construct to explain historical contingencies, projected forward.  The world is made of contingency, but it incorporates values that we expect of the future, of different futures.  The transitions into the future are real which are marked by the material process.  It is not based on predictions or forecasts.

Whether events are predictable or unpredictable, they represent the content of vision.  Unpredictable events are usually not taken into account until they occur, at which point they are considered to be part of the possibilities which are prepared for.  The market does not trade probable futures, but the value and price worth presently.  The price represents the trade, while what is earned represents a difference.  It is a direct statement related to someone else’s value set.  

Words spoken are predictions of being understood.  All knowledge is predictions about entities of the world and their properties.  The market replaces knowledge as it is not theory, the prices actually happen.  The market is a medium of contingency.  The market does not represent the future, it represents the performative moment of the trade.  

The book has an important concept to deliver, but the delivery itself is a failure.  Rather than elucidating the concept, the book progressively becomes more convoluted.  There are themes that run through the book, such as of writing and the market, but they become seemingly more difficult to understand.  Understanding many explanations requires to already have known a lot of specific background knowledge, which makes understanding the topic very difficult.  The book’s difficulty partly lies with the context of a very novel idea of contingency as apposed to probabilities.  It will take other books and possible other authors to make the ideas in this book applicable to the real world.  That is this book’s value, its failing delivery succeeds in inspiring ideas to make them palpable.  

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?
•What is probability?
•What is the different between the Black, White, and Blank Swan?
•What are contingences?
•How is it possible not to have probabilities?
•What does the market do?
•What is knowledge?

Book Details
Edition ISBN:  9780470661765
Pages to read:   585
Publication:     2010
1st Edition:      2010
Format:           eBook

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    1
Content          2
Overall           2