What experiment did we just do? Counterfactual error statistics and uncertainties about the reference class
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 69 (2):279-299 (2002)
Experimenters sometimes insist that it is unwise to examine data before determining how to analyze them, as it creates the potential for biased results. I explore the rationale behind this methodological guideline from the standpoint of an error statistical theory of evidence, and I discuss a method of evaluating evidence in some contexts when this predesignation rule has been violated. I illustrate the problem of potential bias, and the method by which it may be addressed, with an example from the search for the top quark. A point in favor of the error statistical theory is its ability, demonstrated here, to explicate such methodological problems and suggest solutions, within the framework of an objective theory of evidence.
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David Teira (2013). A Contractarian Solution to the Experimenter’s Regress. Philosophy of Science 80 (5):709-720.
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