Johannes von Kries’s Principien: A Brief Guide for the Perplexed

Sandy L Zabell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper has the aim of making Johannes von Kries’s masterpiece, Die Principien der Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung of 1886, a little more accessible to the modern reader in three modest ways: first, it discusses the historical background to the book (in particular, what Keynes later termed the “principle of indifference”); next, it summarizes the basic elements of von Kries’s approach (in particular, his “Principle of the Spielraum”); and finally, it examines the so-called “principle of cogent reason” with which von Kries’s name is often identified in the English literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-150
Number of pages20
JournalJournal for General Philosophy of Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Arne Fisher
  • Emanuel Czuber
  • Johannes von Kries
  • John Maynard Keynes
  • Method of arbitrary functions
  • Principle of cogent reason
  • Principle of indifference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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