Bookdown contest submission: a Textbook Introducing Probability & Decision w/ a Visual Emphasis



This book introduces philosophy students to probability and decision theory. It emphasizes visual techniques and explanations, such as decision trees, eikosograms, and Euler diagrams, all produced with ggplot2.

The HTML version of the book improves navigation with a dropdown menu (implemented in pure CSS), allowing the book to have many chapters without crowding the top of the page. (There are 24 chapters, one for each lecture in the course.)

Thanks to the tufte package, the margin notes also supply context, historical background, links to relevant sources, and points of curiosity.

The book is available in both HTML and PDF.


Really cool! Is this in a GitHub repo? I'd love to look at the source code!

Edit Found it!


Whoops, thanks for tracking that down!

I had actually given the repo the wrong name. It's now renamed to match the link in the book's preface. Here's the new, corrected URL:


Beautiful! I absolutely love it! Thanks for sharing this wonderful extension!

BTW, if you can enable HTTPS for your site, you are welcome to submit this book to the bookdown archive:


This is absolutely fantastic! I was a philosophy undergrad once upon a time and have been wanting to dive more into the philosophy side of probability since I started reading Jaynes. I was reminded of the logic course I took with David Kaplan (UCLA) and the austere text that accompanied his course, which I find to be too dry for fun side reading on the train to work.

Looking forward to your text! As an aside, I also plan to read You've Come a Long Way, Bayesians :raised_hands:t2: do you focus on epistemology and statistical confidence? (not sure what the right way to contrast epistemology with things that should also be epistemology but are not).


Thanks! Much too kind for such a small tweak to the existing framework, but hopefully others will find the dropdown CSS useful.

I'll work on setting up HTTPS when I get a free moment, and submit to Thanks again!


Thanks! That's so cool you took logic with Kaplan.

If you're interested in high-quality philosophical stuff on Bayesian epistemology or statistics, here are some sources I'd recommend before the You've Come a Long Way paper:




One of the best, if not the very best implementation of Bookdown I have come across. The visual aesthetics are not only striking but appealing to the eyes too. Fantastic job.


@jweisber Very very nice. Turns out emoticons can be used to educate, who woulda guessed?


Thanks for the recommendations! I've only read the SEP article before--will dive into these soon.

The class with Kaplan was interesting--we used a program that he wrote to do all of our work, but this was in 2006, so I don't know how much has changed (I'm assuming the 2010 in the title means it was refactored/updated in 2010?).

Funny1 now; not back then, but I thought I almost killed him in class once--he was walking around the computer lab in the library and was coming through the middle portion of the lab and tried to brace himself around a corner on the back of my chair. Problem was that I had a sweater there that just slid off when he put pressure on it and he tumbled off of a small step that was sort of hidden (didn't have any red/yellow tape to indicate there was a step). He was very angry and I'm sure embarrassed and I was mortified. My philo friends hyperbolically told others I had almost killed him. He was mad at me initially, and then at the step that wasn't labeled a little while after. It didn't help that my work-study job was in the philo department--we had some awkward interactions until I ended up cataloging books in the reading room.

1 Just to clarify, I mean funny in the sense of a situation fraught with awkwardness and seriousness that is pretty comical in retrospect rather than the falling being funny in and of itself


Hilarious. Is there a repo of Kaplan stories? Do we need to make one?


I would love to hear some other folks' stories! He also had a never ending supply of Hawaiian shirts.