The Logic of Chance/Preface 1888

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PREFACE TO THIRD EDITION


The present edition has been revised throughout, and in fact rewritten. Three chapters are new, viz. the fifth (On the conception of Randomness) and the eighteenth and nineteenth (On the nature, and on the employment, of Averages). The eighth, tenth, eleventh, and fifteenth chapters have been recast, and much new matter added, and numerous alterations made in the remaining portions[1]. On the other hand three chapters of the last edition have been nearly or entirely omitted.

These alterations do not imply any appreciable change of view on my part as to the foundations and province of Probability. Some of them are of course due to the necessary changes involved in the attempt to write up to date upon a subject which has not been stationary during the last eleven years. For instance the greatly increased interest now taken in what may be called the Theory of Statistics has rendered it desirable to go much more fully into the Nature and treatment of Laws of Error. The omissions are mainly due to a wish to avoid increasing the bulk of this volume more than is actually necessary, and to a feeling that the portions treating specially of Inductive Logic (which occupied some space in the last edition) would be more suitable to a regular work on that subject. I am at present engaged on such a work.

The publications which I have had occasion to notice have mostly appeared in various scientific journals. The principal authors of these have been Mr F. Galton and Mr F. Y. Edgeworth: to the latter of whom I am also personally much obliged for many discussions, oral and written, and for his kindness in looking through the proof-sheets. His published articles are too numerous for separate mention here, but I may say generally, in addition to the obligations specially noticed, that I have been considerably indebted to them in writing the last two chapters. Two authors of works of a somewhat more substantial character, viz. Prof. Lexis and Von Kries, only came under my notice unfortunately after this work was already in the printer’s hands. With the latter of these authors I find myself in closer agreement than with most others, in respect of his general conception and treatment of Probability.


December, 1887.

  1. I have indicated the new chapters and sections by printing them in italics in the Table of Contents.