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gambler's fallacy
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Definition:
The gambler's fallacy occurs as follows: You flip a coin ten times, and each time it comes up heads. But on the 11th flip, will it come up heads again, or tails? If you ask a random group of people, you will likely get two different answers.

The first will be that the coin will surely come up heads again - it's already done so 10 times in a row, so the odds must be in favor of it happening again.The second answer will be that is must come up tails on the 11th flip, because it came up heads 10 times now and the coin is "due" to go the other way by now.

But both answers are wrong, and both are the different sides of the gambler's fallacy. Even if we come up with 10,000 heads in a row, the odds of number 10,001 being tails is still only 50/50 (assuming that the coin is "fair", of course). The law of averages does not change and a random system does not develop a "memory." The gambler's fallacy represents the very real human desire to find some sort meaning and patter in what appears to be a random system.

Also Known As: Monte Carlo Fallacy

Alternate Spellings: none

Common Misspellings: none

Related Resources:

What is the Logic and the Philosophy of Language?
The two fields Logic and the Philosophy of Language are often treated separately, but they are nevertheless close enough that they are presented together here. Logic is the study of methods of reasoning and argumentation, both proper and improper. The Philosophy of Language, on the other hand, involves the study of how our language interacts with our thinking.

What is Philosophy?
What is philosophy? Is there any point in studying philosophy, or is it a useless subject? What are the different branches of philosophy - what's the difference between aestheitcs and ethics? What's the difference between metaphysics and epistemology?

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