SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Conglomerability;
  • data analysis;
  • decision analysis;
  • exchangeability;
  • law;
  • likelihood;
  • models;
  • personal probability;
  • risk;
  • scientific method;
  • utility

This paper puts forward an overall view of statistics. It is argued that statistics is the study of uncertainty. The many demonstrations that uncertainties can only combine according to the rules of the probability calculus are summarized. The conclusion is that statistical inference is firmly based on probability alone. Progress is therefore dependent on the construction of a probability model; methods for doing this are considered. It is argued that the probabilities are personal. The roles of likelihood and exchangeability are explained. Inference is only of value if it can be used, so the extension to decision analysis, incorporating utility, is related to risk and to the use of statistics in science and law. The paper has been written in the hope that it will be intelligible to all who are interested in statistics.