A Philosophical Essay On Probabilities

A Philosophical Essay On Probabilities-37
Now that we’re here, how do we deal with this uncertainty?

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Generally recognized as the founder of the modern phase of probability theory, Laplace here applies the principles and general results of his theory "to the most important questions of life, which are, in effect, for the most part, problems in probability." Thus, without the use of higher mathematics, he demonstrates the application of probability to games of chance, physics, reliability.

of witnesses, astronomy, insurance, democratic government and many other areas.

The author died in 1937, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less.

This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

That is to say, uncertainty from lack of knowledge is the same as uncertainty arising from something which can be modeled as a stochastic system.

The real difference between the two is just the depth to which our knowledge is limited by the scope and size of the problem.Probability is relative in part to this ignorance, and in part to our knowledge.”Aside from this thinking being sixty years ahead of its time, he’s stating in simple terms that probability encodes our uncertainty.If there was any doubt to what La Place thought he would go onto say:“In this state of indecision it is impossible for us to announce their occurrence with certainty.”If we do not have knowledge, we cannot predict with certainty.This would lead to Church’s thesis, which connects the abstract mathematics to the real world consequences and limitations of computability.This was a conjecture by La Place 100 years ahead of the formal proof.“Given for one instant an intelligence which could comprehend all the forces by which nature is animated and the respective situation of the beings who compose it—an intelligence sufficiently vast to submit these data to analysis—it would embrace in the same formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the lightest atom...”Boltzmann would become depressed sixty years after this because no one believed him when he spoke of atoms, yet La Place states it as an inevitability.Generally recognized as the founder of the modern phase of probability theory, Laplace here applies the principles A classic of science, this famous essay by "the Newton of France" introduces lay readers to the concepts and uses of probability theory.Skilled mathematicians, too, will enjoy and benefit from seeing how one of the immortals of science expressed so many complex ideas in such simple terms.“Probability is a (some people would say *the*) logical calculus of uncertainty.” ~ David Braber Often times we’re not in control of the provenance of our data.In the chapter where he brings up what would later be referred to as La Place’s Demon, it’s literally titled Sur Les Probabilities or “On the Probabilities.” La Place was setting up his demon as a straw-man so that he could later tear it down.From here on out I’ll take snippets of this chapter and talk about them.“We out the to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its anterior state and as the cause of one which is to follow.”That’s Markov’s principle in action, which is to say, if a recursive algorithm cannot fail to converge, then it converges.Noise as it is referred to today is what we observe in terms of our data about the world that departs from what we say in our model, which we deal with with a probability distribution.We don’t know how this will happen, and this is what La Place talks about in terms of our ignorance.


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