Concept

Inverse probability

Summary
In probability theory, inverse probability is an obsolete term for the probability distribution of an unobserved variable. Today, the problem of determining an unobserved variable (by whatever method) is called inferential statistics, the method of inverse probability (assigning a probability distribution to an unobserved variable) is called Bayesian probability, the "distribution" of data given the unobserved variable is rather the likelihood function (which is not a probability distribution), and the distribution of an unobserved variable, given both data and a prior distribution, is the posterior distribution. The development of the field and terminology from "inverse probability" to "Bayesian probability" is described by . The term "inverse probability" appears in an 1837 paper of De Morgan, in reference to Laplace's method of probability (developed in a 1774 paper, which independently discovered and popularized Bayesian methods, and a 1812 book), though the term "inverse proba
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