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2019-11-06 10:09:23
QUETELET, Lambert Adolphe Jacques.
Sur l'Homme et le Développement de ses Facultés, ou Essai de Physique Sociale.
Paris: Bachelier, 1835. First edition. First edition of Quetelet's principal work in which he presented his conception of the homme moyen ("average man") as the central value about which measurements of a human trait are grouped according to the normal distribution (this was the first time the normal distribution had been used other than as an error law). "With Quetelet's work of 1835 a new era in statistics began. It presented a new technique of statistics, or, rather, the first technique at all. The material was thoughtfully elaborated, arranged according to certain pre-established principles, and made comparable. There were not very many statistical figures in the book, but each figure reported made sense. For every number, Quetelet tried to find the determining influences, its natural causes, and the perturbations caused by man. The work gave a description of the average man as both a static and dynamic phenomenon. This work was a tremendous achievement, but Quetelet had aimed at a much higher goal: social physics, as the subtitle of the work said; the same title under which, since 1825, Comte had taught what he later called sociology. Terms and analogies borrowed from mechanics played a great part in Quetelet's theoretical explanation. To find the laws that govern the social body, one has to do what one does in physics: to observe a large number of cases and then take averages. Quetelet's average man became a slogan in nineteenth-century discussions on social science" (DSB). "A rare, three-part review in the Athenaeum concluded by remarking: 'We consider the appearance … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: SOPHIA RARE BOOKS [Denmark]

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