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From Cosmos to ChaosThe Science of Unpredictability$
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Peter Coles

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198567622

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567622.001.0001

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Bayesians versus Frequentists

Bayesians versus Frequentists

(p.48) 4 Bayesians versus Frequentists
From Cosmos to Chaos

Peter Coles (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

There are two competing interpretations of probability. One is the view that probabilities should be interpreted as frequencies in some large ensemble of repeated experiments under identical conditions. The general term given to this interpretation of probability is frequentist, which is favoured by experimental scientists and observational astronomers. The principal alternative to frequentism is the Bayesian interpretation, represented by Bayes' theorem. Probability theory becomes not a branch of experimental science but a branch of logic. There is no other way to reason consistently in the face of uncertainty than probability theory. The maximum entropy principle involves the assignment of measure of the lack of information contained in a probability distribution.

Keywords:   probability, frequencies, Bayes' theorem, maximum entropy principle, logic, frequentism, probability distribution

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