Friday, August 18, 2006


The Normal Distribution in Phaedo

Excerpt from Phaedo:

...[F]ew are the good and few the evil, and that the great majority are in the interval
between them.

How do you mean? I said.

I mean, he replied, as you might say of the very large and very
small, that nothing is more uncommon than a very large or a very small
man; and this applies generally to all extremes, whether of great
and small, or swift and slow, or fair and foul, or black and white:
and whether the instances you select be men or dogs or anything
else, few are the extremes, but many are in the mean between them.

Apparently, Socrates and/or Plato had an inkling of the Normal distribution long before it was formalized, which I think is pretty cool.


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