Duhem's problem, the bayesian way, and error statistics, or "what's belief got to do with it?"

Philosophy of Science 64 (2):222-244 (1997)
I argue that the Bayesian Way of reconstructing Duhem's problem fails to advance a solution to the problem of which of a group of hypotheses ought to be rejected or "blamed" when experiment disagrees with prediction. But scientists do regularly tackle and often enough solve Duhemian problems. When they do, they employ a logic and methodology which may be called error statistics. I discuss the key properties of this approach which enable it to split off the task of testing auxiliary hypotheses from that of appraising a primary hypothesis. By discriminating patterns of error, this approach can at least block, if not also severely test, attempted explanations of an anomaly. I illustrate how this approach directs progress with Duhemian problems and explains how scientists actually grapple with them
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DOI 10.1086/392549
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