Basel: Johann Rudolph & Emanuel Thurneisen, 1713.
1st Edition. Soft cover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Very Good. Item #003451
4to (210 x 170 mm). , 35 , 306 pp. Woodcut title device, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces, woodcut diagrams in text, 1 folding plate with woodcut diagrams and 2 folding letterpress tables. Signatures: [pi]2 a-d4 e2, A-2P4 2Q2. Final section on tennis and errata bound-in at front. All pages uncut. Contemporary carta rustica, brown marbled paper spine, hand-lettered paper spine label, original untouched endpapers (slight chipping of spine label, short tear to lower cover, a little chipping at lower joint, minor dust-soiling to cover and paper edges). Minor even browning of text and woodcut plate, lower blank corner of leaf c2 torn, light pale dampstaining to lower corner of first 8 leaves and a few leaves elsewhere, occasional very minor spotting, small wormtrack at upper blank margin of first 5 leaves. Provenance: small sticker of bookseller H. Th. Wenner, Osnabrück at rear pastedown. A highly unsophisticated, crisp, clean and unpressed copy. ----
FIRST EDITION, AND EXCEPTIONALLY RARE WIT ALL LEAVES LEFT UNCUT, OF "THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT BOOK ON PROBABILITY THEORY" which "set forth the fundamental principles of the calculus of probabilities and contained the first suggestion that the theory could extend beyond the boundaries of mathematics to apply to civic, moral and economic affairs" (Norman). Ars Conjectandi deals with the theory of combinations, gives concrete examples on the expectation of profit in games, and considers probability from a philosophical perspective. The work is divided into four parts: Part one is a perceptive commentary on Huygens's 'De ratiociniis in aleae ludo', the second part deals with the theory of combinations, the third part gives concrete examples on the expectation of profit in games, the fourth part contains philosophical thoughts on probability. The final section, written in French "Lettre a un Amy aur les Parties de Jeu de Paume", explains the various strategies in real tennis (jeu de paume) and the probabilities of winning in different situations. Bernoulli discusses players of uneven strength, games of two versus one, and other permutations of the game. "This is Jacob's thinly disguised satirical response to some caustic criticisms made earlier of his views on scholarly logic." (Tomash & Williams).
"Jakob Bernoulli's "great treatise (conjectandi) means literally 'casting', sc. dice) was published posthumously. It was the first systematic attempt to place the theory of probability on a firm basis and is still the foundation of much modern practice in all fields where probability is concerned - insurance, statistics and mathematical heredity tables. ... [He] was among the first to develop the calculus beyond the point at which it was left by Newton and Leibniz. Jacob was both a Cartesian and a Newtonian and did much to further the spread of Newton's ideas in Europe. Some researches by Jacob, once regarded as curiosities are now found to have practical application to the construction of suspension bridges and in the transmission of high voltages." (PMM 179).
References: Dibner, Heralds of Science 110; Grolier/Horblit 12; Norman 216; PMM Printing and the Mindo of Man 179; Sparrow Milestones p.21; Honeyman 291; Tomash & Williams B143; DSB II, p.49-51. - Visit our website to see more images!
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