Published In

Metaphor and Symbol

Document Type


Publication Date



Probabilities, Metaphor, Conversation, Communication


The metaphor, "epistemological probability is statistical probability" is traced to the origins of probability theory. Related metaphors appear both in everyday discourse about social processes, and in social scientific argumentation, often disguised as literal claims. Gambling provides a familiar vehicle for expressing the uncertainties associated with social interactions, and with social science research. Examples are drawn from reports of research on media effects, from everyday conversations, and from political communication.


Copyright © 2003, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Metaphor and Symbol. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Metaphor and Symbol, 18(1), 1-11.

Persistent Identifier

Included in

Communication Commons