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Frequency Interpretation in Inverse Probability


DR. JEFFREYS implies in his letter in NATURE of September 17 (p. 535) that a prior probability cannot have a frequency interpretation. That there are several usages of the word probability is well recognized—it is a frequency, a mathematical result, a state of mind, or a degree of rational belief, depending on the circumstances. Jeffreys' point of view must be insisted on only when the conditions under which an experiment is performed are not subject to repeated sampling. However preponderant these circumstances may be in practice, it is important that consideration be given to problems in which the frequency interpretation does apply to the prior probabilities, since the frequency interpretation is the only one that is operationally verifiable.

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DEMING, W. Frequency Interpretation in Inverse Probability. Nature 143, 202–203 (1939).

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