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On Probability and Chance, and their connection with the Business of Insurance

  • T. B. Sprague (a1)

Extract

Gentlemen,—This Society was privileged during a recent Session to listen to an eloquent and highly original address by Professor Chrystal:— ‘On some fundamental Principles in the Theory of Probability.’ The value of such addresses, dealing, as Professor Chrystal's did, with questions on which wide differences of opinion exist, is not to be measured simply by the amount of information they contain ; they serve a much more useful purpose, by leading those who hear them, or afterwards read them, to think out for themselves the various questions discussed. Speaking for myself, I have to thank the Professor, not only for a pleasant evening spent in listening to him, but for causing me to consider carefully the fundamental principles of the theory with which, as Actuaries, we are all supposed to be so much concerned. I have found the subject a most interesting one, and I propose to lay before you this evening, some of the reflections that have occurred to me, and the conclusions at which I have arrived, after carefully studying what has been written on the subject by a number of authors.

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References

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page 99 note * The word used (incorrectly) in the Essay, is ‘insurers’

page 104 note * Principles of Science, p. 189, 2nd Ed.

page 109 note * A full discussion of this problem will be found in the Journal of the Institute of Actuaries, xxi, 204, and xxii, 356.

page 111 note * I leave it to others to say whether these French words have precisely the same meaning as the English Theory of Probabilities, or Theory of Probability, both of which are in use ; but there is no doubt that in some other cases translators have not given the proper English equivalent of a French word or phrase. For instance, the French moyen is often translated mean, when average would more accurately express the meaning ; and the French l'axe des x, which means the axis of the x's, should not be translated, as it usually is, the axis of x, but the x-axis.

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