The special status of mathematical probability: a historical sketch
AbstractThe history of the mathematical probability includes two phases: 1) From Pascal and Fermat to Laplace, the theory gained in application fields; 2) In the first half of the 20th Century, two competing axiomatic systems were respectively proposed by von Mises in 1919 and Kolmogorov in 1933. This paper places this historical sketch in the context of the philosophical complexity of the probability concept and explains the resounding success of Kolmogorov’s theory through its ability to avoid direct interpretation. Indeed, unlike experimental sciences, and despite its numerous applications, probability theory cannot be tested per se. Rather it relates to practical matters by means of transition hypotheses or bridging principles that match the structure of practical problems with abstract theory. In this respect probability theory has a very special status among scientific disciplines.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 08-017.RS.
Length: 15 p.
Date of creation: May 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by: Université Libre de Bruxelles, Solvay Business School, Centre Emile Bernheim (CEB)
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probability; Kolmogorov; von Mises; axioms; epistemology;
Other versions of this item:
- Xavier De Scheemaekere & Ariane Szafarz, 2009. "The Special Status of Mathematical Probability: A Historical Sketch," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/95543, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
- B16 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Quantitative and Mathematical
- B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies
- C00 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-05-17 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2008-05-17 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HPE-2008-05-17 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Shafer, Glenn, 1996. "The significance of Jacob Bernoulli's Ars Conjectandi for the philosophy of probability today," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 15-32, November.
- Xavier De Scheemaekere & Ariane Szafarz, 2011. "The Inference Fallacy From Bernoulli to Kolmogorov," Working Papers CEB 11-006, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Xavier De Scheemaekere & Kim Oosterlinck & Ariane Szafarz, 2012. "Addressing Economic Crises: The Reference-Class Problem," Working Papers CEB 12-024, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Xavier De Scheemaekere & Ariane Szafarz, 2008. "Inverting Bernoulli's theorem: the original sin," Working Papers CEB 08-029.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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