Is frequentist testing vulnerable to the base-rate fallacy?

Philosophy of Science 77 (4):565-583 (2010)
This article calls into question the charge that frequentist testing is susceptible to the base-rate fallacy. It is argued that the apparent similarity between examples like the Harvard Medical School test and frequentist testing is highly misleading. A closer scrutiny reveals that such examples have none of the basic features of a proper frequentist test, such as legitimate data, hypotheses, test statistics, and sampling distributions. Indeed, the relevant error probabilities are replaced with the false positive/negative rates that constitute deductive calculations based on known probabilities among events. As a result, the ampliative dimension of frequentist induction—learning from data about the underlying data-generating mechanism—is missing. *Received August 2009; revised January 2010. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061; e-mail:
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/656009
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Deborah G. Mayo (2001). Error and the Growth of Experimental Knowledge. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (1):455-459.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Laura Macchi (1997). Pragmatically Before Ecologically Valid Tasks. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (4):778-779.
Daniel Greco (2011). Significance Testing in Theory and Practice. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):607-637.
Ranald R. Macdonald (1997). Base Rates and Randomness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (4):778-778.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

31 ( #102,719 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #231,316 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.