more from Gilbert Harman

Single Idea 19305

[catalogued under 10. Modality / B. Possibility / 6. Probability]

Full Idea

The Gambler's Fallacy says if black has come up ten times in a row, red must be highly probable next time. It overlooks how the impact of an initial run of one color can become more and more insignificant as the sequence gets longer.

Gist of Idea

The Gambler's Fallacy (ten blacks, so red is due) overemphasises the early part of a sequence


Gilbert Harman (Change in View: Principles of Reasoning [1986], 1)

Book Reference

Harman,Gilbert: 'Change in View: Principles of Reasoning' [MIP 1986], p.8

A Reaction

At what point do you decide that the roulette wheel is fixed, rather than that you have fallen for the Gambler's Fallacy? Interestingly, standard induction points to the opposite conclusion. But then you have prior knowledge of the wheel.