Nineteenth Century Philosophy

Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

What is Pierre-Simon Laplace’s theory of probability?

The fact that we do not know certain things gives rise to the idea of probabilities. Because we view the world as determined in assuming that every event has a cause, the probability of an event depends on a combination of what we do know and what we do not know. Laplace’s theory of probability was that if there is no reason to believe that one of a number of events, n, will occur, then the probability of each happening is 1/n. For example, the probability that any day of the week chosen at random will be either a Tuesday or a Thursday is 2/7.


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