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Inverse Probability

  • R. A. Fisher (a1)


I know only one case in mathematics of a doctrine which has been accepted and developed by the most eminent men of their time, and is now perhaps accepted by men now living, which at the same time has appeared to a succession of sound writers to be fundamentally false and devoid of foundation. Yet that is quite exactly the position in respect of inverse probability. Bayes, who seems to have first attempted to apply the notion of probability, not only to effects in relation to their causes but also to causes in relation to their effects, invented a theory, and evidently doubted its soundness, for he did not publish it during his life. It was posthumously published by Price, who seems to have felt no doubt of its soundness. It and its applications must have made great headway during the next 20 years, for Laplace takes for granted in a highly generalised form what Bayes tentatively wished to postulate in a special case.


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Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • ISSN: 0305-0041
  • EISSN: 1469-8064
  • URL: /core/journals/mathematical-proceedings-of-the-cambridge-philosophical-society
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