Advertisement

Fisher, Jeffreys, and the Nature of Probability

  • David A. Lane
Part of the Lecture Notes in Statistics book series (LNS, volume 1)

Abstract

Bayesian inference was Fisher’s intellectual bête noire. His work is filled with sharp attacks on “inverse probability”,1 and for many years he sought to develop a logic of induction alternative to the Bayesian scheme. In this connection he developed some of his central ideas, including the likelihood-based theory of estimation and the theory of fiducial probability. This lecture is about Fisher’s critique of Bayesian inference. It centers on an acerbic and amusing exchange between Fisher and Jeffreys which took place in the 1930s and revealed which parts of the Bayesian theory Fisher rejected, and which parts he simply failed to comprehend. First, I shall briefly summarize two papers on inverse probability which antedate this exchange, and at the end of the lecture I shall mention a few later changes in point of view which brought Fisher more into line with the ideas argued by Jeffreys in their exchange — but which Fisher had rejected out of hand at the time.

Keywords

Prior Probability Bayesian Inference Inductive Inference Inverse Probability Epistemic Probability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Jaynes, E.T. (1974). “Probability Theory with Applications in Science and Engineering. A Series of Lectures,” unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  2. Jeffreys, H. (1931). Scientific Inference. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Jeffreys, H. (. 1932 ). “On the Theory of Errors and Least Squares,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series A, 138, 48–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Jeffreys, H. (1933). “Probability, Statistics, and the Theory of Errors,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series A, 140, 523–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Jeffreys, H. (. 1934 ). “Probability and Scientific Method,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series A, 146, 9–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Jeffreys, H. (1961). Theory of Probability, 3rd edition. Oxford: Claredon Press.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  7. Ramsey, F.P. (1961). “Truth and Probability”. Reprinted in Studies in Subjective Probability (H. Kyburg and H. Smokler, eds. ), 61–92.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Lane

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations