Talk:An Essay towards solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances

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A version of the Essay with more readable formulas[edit]

It is convenient to have a free online PDF of this work, like the one currently listed at Having checked that one, which seems to duplicate the original typography, I'd like to recommend the following which I found on JSTOR. This is a reprint made in 1958. The much-improved readability of the formulas starts to be seen in Proposition 10 and following:

Studies in the History of Probability and Statistics: IX. Thomas Bayes's Essay Towards Solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances
Author(s): G. A. Barnard and Thomas Bayes
Source: Biometrika, Vol. 45, No. 3/4 (Dec., 1958), pp. 293-315
Stable URL: .

Naturally it would be ideal to get a free version of this, but I haven't noticed any. EdJohnston (talk) 05:01, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

There is some existing Wikipedia material on this in Bayesian inference (which might now be modified further to take account of this new article, although it does wikilink to here) ... that contains a weblink to for the text which I think is a free version ... but could someone check this? Melcombe (talk) 08:41, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
That's an impressive-looking version but it has even older typography. For example, 'consequent' written with the 's' that looks like an f. I believe that it's a free version. EdJohnston (talk) 14:34, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

The mythical billiard table[edit]

One of the most important and famous parts of Bayes's essay is his analogy of repeatedly throwing balls onto a square table. This analogy is routinely misrepresented as involving billiard balls being thrown onto a billiard table. The description of the table and balls thrown onto it are clearly never described as billiard balls. I changed the description in wikipedia that also referred to the billiard table. Though it is perhaps a minor matter, I don't think wikipedia should perpetuate this misunderstanding, especially as it implies that those describing the analogy as involving a billiard table never read the essay. The part of the essay introducing the analogy is as follows: "Suppose the square table or plane $ABCD$ to be made and levelled, that if either of the balls $o$ or $W$ be thrown upon it, there shall be the same probability that it rests upon any one equal part of the plane as another, and that is must necessarily rest somewhere upon it" (Postulate I, found in Section II of the essay). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Markjandrews (talkcontribs) 20:33, 24 November 2012 (UTC)