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The Rise of Statistical Thinking, 1820–1900

Theodore M. Porter

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Naturwissenschaften, Medizin, Informatik, Technik / Naturwissenschaften allgemein


An essential work on the origins of statistics

The Rise of Statistical Thinking, 1820–1900 explores the history of statistics from the field's origins in the nineteenth century through to the factors that produced the burst of modern statistical innovation in the early twentieth century. Theodore Porter shows that statistics was not developed by mathematicians and then applied to the sciences and social sciences. Rather, the field came into being through the efforts of social scientists, who saw a need for statistical tools in their examination of society. Pioneering statistical physicists and biologists James Clerk Maxwell, Ludwig Boltzmann, and Francis Galton introduced statistical models to the sciences by pointing to analogies between their disciplines and the social sciences. A new preface by the author looks at how the book has remained relevant since its initial publication, and considers the current place of statistics in scientific research.

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Theodore M. Porter
Theodore M. Porter



Science, Sociology, Charles Darwin, Equipossibility, Law of large numbers, Probability, Lecture, Inference, Thermodynamics, Dynamism (metaphysics), Joseph Fourier, Probable error, Proportionality (mathematics), Wilhelm Lexis, Eugenics, Politics, Biologist, Pure mathematics, Fatalism, Mathematics, Philosopher, Molecule, Thought, Probabilism, Mathematician, Reason, Statistical hypothesis testing, Meteorology, Writing, Contingency (philosophy), Mathematical problem, Indeterminism, Historicism, Mathematical statistics, John Herschel, Social science, Thomas Robert Malthus, Mathematical analysis, Adolphe Quetelet, Quantitative genetics, Ian Hacking, Calculation, William Whewell, Kinetic theory of gases, Physician, The Philosopher, Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution, Observational astronomy, Uncertainty, Statistical physics, Statistician, Explanation, John Stuart Mill, Principle, Prediction, Result, Theory, Second law of thermodynamics, Accuracy and precision, Arithmetic mean, Lorraine Daston, Philosophy, Hypothesis, Error, Philosophy of science, Darwinism, Statistical regularity, Atomism, Contradiction, Analogy, Phenomenon, Biology, Standard deviation, Karl Pearson, Natural philosophy, Medical statistics, Gemmule (pangenesis), Positivism, Statistics, Certainty, Thomas Kuhn, Heredity, Francis Galton, Error function, Normal distribution, Ludwig Boltzmann, Measurement, Probability and statistics, Statistical thinking, Social statistics, Probability theory, Charles Babbage, Scientist, Quantity, Political economy, Demography, Natural science, Error analysis (mathematics), Statistic, Causality