Editors

David G. Schwartz

Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Date

6-2013

Publication Title

Center for Gaming Research Occasional Paper Series: Paper 22

Publisher Location

Las Vegas, Nevada

First page number:

1

Last page number:

12

Abstract

Charles Cotton’s Compleat Gamester, one of the best known manuals accompanying a virtual pandemic of gambling fever across early modern Europe, likens gaming to shipwreck since there are “but few Casts at Dice betwixt a rich man and a beggar,” “but few inches between [living] and drowning.” This conjunction of shipwreck and gaming recurs in early modern literature and constitutes a rhetorical topos in the sense of philosopher Hans Blumenberg. I examine several instances of this conjunction (e.g. in Cardano’s autobiography, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise, and Joseph de la Vega’s Confusion de Confusiones) and suggest that the conjunction can be understood according to Ian Hacking’s thesis on the contemporaneous development of probability theory.

Keywords

probability; speculation; risk; rhetoric; early modern period

Disciplines

Gaming and Casino Operations Management | Hospitality Administration and Management | Tourism and Travel

Language

English


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