Is frequentist testing vulnerable to the base-rate fallacy?

Philosophy of Science 77 (4):565-583 (2010)
Abstract
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: aris@vt.edu
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