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Activity Number: 629
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Thursday, August 3, 2017 : 8:30 AM to 10:20 AM
Sponsor: Section on Statistical Education
Abstract #323972 View Presentation
Title: The Impact of Laplace's "A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities" on the Teaching of Probability
Author(s): Ilhan Izmirli*
Companies: George Mason University
Keywords: Probability

Essai philosophique sur les probabilités (A Philosophical Essay on Probability), was a nontechnical introduction to the laws of chance written by Laplace in 1814 as an elaboration of a lecture he delivered in the normal schools in 1795. In contrast to what he did in his 1812 masterpiece Théorie analytique des probabilités (The Analytical Theory of Probability), here Laplace wanted to introduce the concept of probability without the use of calculus and show that every occurrence affecting human life (including hope and fear) could be measured. In fact, he concluded the Introduction section as follows:

I hope that the reflections given in this essay may merit the attention of philosophers and direct it to a subject so worthy of their engaging minds.

Reasoning along these lines, in this essay, Laplace introduced ten general principles of basic probability theory. In this paper we will look into these ten principles, and see how they apply to the teaching of probability today.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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