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The Blank Swan: The End of Probability
The Blank Swan: The End of Probability
by Elie Ayache
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £32.50

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Philosophy of Finance, 2 Oct. 2010
This book occupies an odd position - on the one hand, too technical for most philosophers; on the other hand, too philosophical for most financial traders. Moreover, it is a difficult book, one that demands patient reading and patient thinking through of the ideas. But for those willing to invest the effort, it rewards a close reading. It is densely packed with what is likely the most sophisticated analysis of the metaphysics implied within derivatives markets. The author doesn't stop there though, instead taking this implicit metaphysics and aligning it with the most cutting-edge work done in philosophy on the notions of probability and contingency. The result is a resolutely philosophical work that uses the medium of the financial market as a means to think through much larger and grander notions.

Two criticisms of the book need to be refuted here. First, this is not a book to make money with. On the other hand, if you have a modicum of self-reflection about the processes involved in modern finance, this is an excellent book. Second, this is not a book about the metaphysics of the market per se. Rather, the market is mined for insights into the structure of probability and contingency. The aim of the author is much larger than just talking about the market for convertible bonds.

However, for anyone concerned with contemporary metaphysics, or with a philosophical understanding of derivatives markets, this is a fantastic work that deserves to be read widely.


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