Precise Propositions and Dicey Decisions
Which health insurance plan should I choose? What does this HIV test result mean? How should I invest for retirement? Are there negative consequences to making airplanes safer? Does a positive blood match mean that the defendant is guilty? This course is about using basic quantitative methods to make sense of real-world problems and questions. We will learn how to formulate questions in precise terms and how to give meaningful answers. We will learn how to construct and defend rigorous arguments and how to analyze the arguments of others. We will learn how to quantify real-world decisions and their consequences. Above all, we will gain an appreciation for the power of a few elementary mathematical tools–including proportions, spreadsheets, and basic probability–and for the profound impacts that they have on our lives.