[OPE-L:2215] Re: Statistical regularities

From: C. J. Arthur (cjarthur@pavilion.co.uk)
Date: Tue Jan 18 2000 - 17:38:01 EST

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Julian wrote
> But this isn't the sort of thing that I, or the 19th-century
>debaters, had in mind: rather, such "facts" as that the annual average
>number of murders or suicides in a particular jurisdiction was normally
>distributed about a stable mean.
> It not unreasonably occurred to those working with social statistics
>to wonder what this implied about the sources of human behaviour.
> Since murder -- and especially self-murder (as many thought of it in
>those days) seem on the face of it the most extreme outcomes of human will
>and intentionality, one might expect the annual rates of these to be very
>erratic, whereas they are (or were) apparently rather regularly distributed.
> Quetelet was an outright statistical fatalist: he fully believed
>that the regularities which he discovered implied that the agents were under
>compulsion to carry out the acts involved: "society prepares the crimes", he
>said. Thus he argued that responsibility and punishment were inappropriate
>categories in this connection.

Marx also; see his article in NYDT jan 28 1853, MECW 11 495

P. S. Please note that I have a new Email address,
but the old one will also run until next summer. (To be doubly sure load both!)

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