Robustness Analysis

Philosophy of Science 73 (5):730-742 (2006)
Abstract
Modelers often rely on robustness analysis, the search for predictions common to several independent models. Robustness analysis has been characterized and championed by Richard Levins and William Wimsatt, who see it as central to modern theoretical practice. The practice has also been severely criticized by Steven Orzack and Elliott Sober, who claim that it is a nonempirical form of confirmation, effective only under unusual circumstances. This paper addresses Orzack and Sober's criticisms by giving a new account of robustness analysis and showing how the practice can identify robust theorems. Once the structure of robust theorems is clearly articulated, it can be shown that such theorems have a degree of confirmation, despite the lack of direct empirical evidence for their truth.
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Wendy S. Parker (2009). Confirmation and Adequacy-for-Purpose in Climate Modelling. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):233-249.
Anna Alexandrova (2008). Making Models Count. Philosophy of Science 75 (3):383-404.
Angela Potochnik (2012). Feminist Implications of Model-Based Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (2):383-389.

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