PROBABILITY

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PROBABILITY. In the doctrine of chances, the probability of any event is the ratio of the favorable cases to all the possible cases, which, in our judgment, are similarly circumstanced, with regard to their happening or failing; and it is greater or less according to the number of chances by which it may happen, compared with the whole number of chances by which it may either happen or fail. The calculation of chances in games of hazard, and the theory of insurance, whether of property or life, are founded on the laws of probability, as developed by mathematical analysis. The doctrine of probabilities forms, of itself, a science, embracing a vast number of complicated and delicate questions. The subject is treated of in Bernoulli's Ars Conjeeturandi, Condorcet's Essai sur la Probabilitt des Decisions, Lacroix's Traitt, Laplace's Essai philosophique sur les Probabilitts, and Traitt analytique, and in other works by Price, Halley, Simpson, &c.