Laplace, Pierre Simon de
(1749–1827)
The French mathematician is remembered in philosophy partly for his contributions to probability theory, and also for his strict determinism . He himself proved the mechanical stability of the solar system within Newtonian mechanics, thereby removing the need for any regulation by divine intervention. It is this that occasioned his celebrated remark to Napoleon about God: ‘Je n’ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse’: I have no need of that hypothesis. His determinism is frequently presented in the figure of a superhuman intelligence, to whom the entire state of nature at a time is known, and who can therefore compute the way it will evolve through subsequent times. Laplace, however, accepted that human beings would have to make do with probabilities. His Essai philosophique sur les probabilités (1814, trs. as A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities, 1951) is famous not only for its mathematical originality, but for the confidence with which Laplace applies inverse methods to give probabilities for such things as the rising of the sun or the correctness of a verdict by a jury of a given size. His reliance on both the rule of succession and on the principle of indifference have been subsequently criticized.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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  • Laplace,Marquis Pierre Simon de — La·place (lə pläsʹ, lä ), Marquis Pierre Simon de. 1749 1827. French mathematician and astronomer noted for his theory of a nebular origin of the solar system and his investigations into gravity and the stability of planetary motion. * * * …   Universalium

  • Laplace, Pierre-Simon, marquis de — born March 23, 1749, Beaumount en Auge, France died March 5, 1827, Paris French mathematician, astronomer, and physicist. He is best known for his investigations into the stability of the solar system and the theory of magnetic, electrical, and… …   Universalium

  • Laplace , Marquis Pierre Simon de — (1749–1827) French mathematician, astronomer, and physicist Laplace, born the son of a small estate owner in Beaumont en Auge, France, was educated at the University of Caen. Jean D Alembert, impressed by a letter on mechanics sent to him by… …   Scientists

  • Laplace, Pierre-Simon, marqués de — (23 mar. 1749, Beaumount en Auge, Franciandash–5 mar. 1827, París). Matemático, astrónomo y físico francés. Se lo conoce principalmente por sus investigaciones sobre la estabilidad del sistema solar y su teoría de la propagación de ondas… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Pierre Simon de Laplace — noun French mathematician and astronomer who formulated the nebular hypothesis concerning the origins of the solar system and who developed the theory of probability (1749 1827) • Syn: ↑Laplace, ↑Marquis de Laplace • Instance Hypernyms:… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Laplace, Pierre Simón, marqués de — ► (1749 1827) Matemático y astrónomo francés. Resumió en un cuerpo de doctrina los trabajos separados de Newton, Halley, Clairaut, D´Alembert y Euler acerca de la gravitación universal y concibió, a propósito de la formación del sistema… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Pierre-Simon Laplace — Laplace redirects here. For the city in Louisiana, see LaPlace, Louisiana. For the joint NASA ESA space mission, see Europa Jupiter System Mission. Pierre Simon, marquis de Laplace Pierre Simon Laplace (1749–1827). Posthumous portrait …   Wikipedia

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