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Individual risk: does it exist?

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Writing recently about her decision to have a preventive double mastectomy, Angelina Jolie said: “My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.”

Where do such figures come from, and what if anything do they mean? Is it even possible to assign risk values to individual events? I shall consider various statistical and philosophical attempts to grapple with these issues.

This talk is part of the CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar series.

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