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A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities [Paperback]

Marquis de Laplace
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Jan. 18 1996 --  

Book Description

Jan. 18 1996 Dover Books on Mathematics

A classic of science, this famous essay by "the Newton of France" introduces lay readers to the concepts and uses of probability theory. It is of especial interest today as an application of mathematical techniques to problems in social and biological sciences.
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.
General readers will find it an exhilarating experience to follow Laplace's nontechnical application of mathematical techniques to the appraisal, solution and/or prediction of the outcome of many types of problems. 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.


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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and different book Sept. 6 2002
Format:Paperback
This nontechnical writing is quite different from others. There are mathematical formulas, but they are expressed in words, without symbols. The interesting is that Laplace motivates the use of probability theory with exemples of all branches of human knowledge. More than this, he argue that the entire system of human knowledge is conected with that theory, because most important problems of human life are problems in probability. This book is an opportunity to read an original and historical "introduction" to Laplace's work on probability theory.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, but not for everyone April 1 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I recommend this book to people with a science background that want a little light reading. This will probably not be very appealing to the layman.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probability theory is nothing but common sense reduced to calculation Aug. 13 2009
By Peter Norvig - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an awesome book. It is hard to believe Laplace wrote this in 1816; it seems so modern. If you've ever worked on problems like "take two urns, A and B, the first containing four
white and two black balls ..." you'll be interested to know these problems all go back to this book. Laplace said "Probability theory is nothing but common sense reduced to calculation", and he shows it here. I like the discussion of how many judges should be assigned to a case, and what proportion of them should be required to vote guilty for a guilty verdict to be returned. Laplace shows how to minimize expected loss on this problem (although he, somewhat unrealistically, assumes that each judge's opinion is independent of the others).
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite satisfied but it is ok for the price Dec 22 2013
By julio a nunez pagan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The copy of pages of a book make it look like odd. But as a rescue effort for a test is ok. I rather choice the french original next time.
5.0 out of 5 stars Always read The Classics Oct. 9 2013
By Frank Grange - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Popularly misidentified as a frequentist, Laplace was really the original "Bayesian" as we use the term today. Unlike Bayes, over-credited by anglophiles or francophobes, Laplace really defined the useful methods that created modern Bayesian inference and analysis. (Re)reading Laplace is worthwhile for any practicing or academic toiler in probability, statistics, modeling and simulation.

While I haven't French, the translation flows well, so I assume the translator and editor were knowledgeable and careful.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Place to start July 22 2013
By Ivars Fabriciuss - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This wok is so lucid that has to be read carefully. Information based Universe model developers will find all promts here.
17 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, but not for everyone April 1 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I recommend this book to people with a science background that want a little light reading. This will probably not be very appealing to the layman.
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