Philosophy of Science 61 (1):1-24 (1994)

Lou Marinoff
City College of New York (CUNY)
Bertrand's random-chord paradox purports to illustrate the inconsistency of the principle of indifference when applied to problems in which the number of possible cases is infinite. This paper shows that Bertrand's original problem is vaguely posed, but demonstrates that clearly stated variations lead to different, but theoretically and empirically self-consistent solutions. The resolution of the paradox lies in appreciating how different geometric entities, represented by uniformly distributed random variables, give rise to respectively different nonuniform distributions of random chords, and hence to different probabilities. The principle of indifference appears consistently applicable to infinite sets provided that problems can be formulated unambiguously
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DOI 10.1086/289777
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