Study Guide

The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America - Part 3, Chapter 8 The Law of Errors, Section 3 Summary & Analysis

Louis Menand
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Part 3, Chapter 8 The Law of Errors, Section 3 Summary

There were two men during the mid-19th Century that led to a change in the beliefs about society and race. They were Adolph Quetlet and Henry Thomas Buckle. They each pushed statistics into descriptions of societal factors.

Quetlet was a believer in the Law of Errors and probability theory. When he was only in his twenties, he not only talked the Belgian government into building an observatory, but also into sending him to Paris to get training in its use. He studied under Joseph Fourier in Paris and returned to Belgium with the title of Royal Astronomer.

In 1835, he published a two-volume set regarding crime. He used probability theory to define and explain crimes and why they occurred. In the set, he made two major generalizations. One was that society...

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This section contains 429 words
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