A treatise on probability.

London, Macmillan, 1921

8vo, pp. [iii] blank, [i] advertisement, xi, [i] blank, 466, [2] publisher’s advertisements; a very good copy, in the original publisher’s cloth, spine ruled and lettered in gilt; extremities with some light wear; English prize bookplate to the front pastedown, Tonbridge School arms gilt on the sides.


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First edition, an early issue without the errata slip at p. 423, of this mathematical-philosophical work, in which Keynes sought to establish a mathematical basis for probability theory as Russell and Whitehead had done for symbolic logic. Russell wrote of this work “the mathematical calculus is astonishingly powerful, considering the very restricted premises which form its foundation... the book as a whole is one which it is impossible to praise too highly” (quoted in DSB). The Treatise grew out of Keynes’ fellowship dissertation and represents a contribution of the first importance in its field, tackling the problems of induction and the analysis of statistical inference. A further admirable feature of the work is the wealth of historical information supplied; the bibliography listing 600 works updates the earlier treatments of Todhunter and Laurent.

DSB VII, p. 317; Institute of Actuaries, p. 91; Moggridge A3.1; “Utrecht” (1949), p. 1039.

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