Experimental Reproducibility and the Experimenters' Regress

Abstract
In his influential book, "Changing Order", H.M. Collins puts forward the following three claims concerning experimental replication. (i) Replication is rarely practiced by experimentalists; (ii) replication cannot be used as an objective test of scientific knowledge claims, because of the occurrence of the so-called experimenters' regress; and (iii) stopping this regress at some point depends upon the enculturation in a local community of practitioners, who tacitly learn the relevant skills. In my paper I discuss and assess these claims on the basis of a more comprehensive analysis of experimentation and experimental reproducibility. The main point is that Collins' claims are not, strictly speaking, wrong, but rather too one-sided and therefore inadequate. This point also calls for a reconsideration of the radical (social constructivist) conclusions that Collins has drawn from his studies of scientific experimentation.
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Simon A. Cole (2013). Forensic Culture as Epistemic Culture: The Sociology of Forensic Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (1):36-46.
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