Spine repaired, but well preserved, uncut. Original printed wrappers. Octavo. Item #10923
“More serious, however, was the attack on Boole’s approach to the theory of probability made by Wilbraham in the Philosophical Magazine for August, 1854. Wilbraham made several objections to Boole’s methods, the most serious of which was that Boole had in many of his examples tacitly introduced certain additional assumptions, expressible by algebraic equations, over and above the data of the problems considered, thereby facilitating the solution. Boole was more than a little shaken by this attack because Wilbraham had put his finger on a very subtle point, but nevertheless he replied in the next number of the magazine, sticking firmly to his guns. However, it is interesting to note that he did not give a direct reply to Wilbraham’s specific objections, but argued in more general terms. In fairness to Boole, it must be admitted that the particular point at issue is even today a thorny problem in probability theory, involving the notion of stochastic independence. Incidentally, Boole, in his reply, once again repeated his now-unconvincing claim that: ‘Controversy is in every way so disagreeable to me, that it is with the most unfeigned reluctance I feel myself called upon to reply to the observations of Mr. Wilbraham inserted in the last number of your Journal’” (McHale, George Boole: His Life and Work, p. 214).