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Profile: Kent Staley (Saint Louis University)
  1. Kent W. Staley, Strategies for Securing Evidence Through Model Criticism: An Error-Statistical Perspective.
    : I propose an epistemological extension of the error-statistical (ES) account of inference advocated by Deborah Mayo. To supplement the unrelativized account of evidence provided by ES, I propose a relativized notion, which I designate security, meant to conceptualize practices aimed at the justification of inferences from evidence. I then show how the notion of security can be put to use by showing how two very different theoretical approaches to model criticism in statistics can both be viewed as strategies for (...)
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  2. Kent W. Staley, Securing Reliable Evidence.
    : Evidence claims depend on fallible assumptions. Three strategies for making true evidence claims in spite of this fallibility are strengthening the support for those assumptions, weakening conclusions, and using multiple independent tests to produce robust evidence. Reliability itself, understood in frequentist terms, does not explain the usefulness of all three strategies; robustness, in particular, sometimes functions in a way that is not well-characterized in terms of reliability. I argue that, in addition to reliability, the security of evidence claims is (...)
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  3. Kent W. Staley, Using Inferential Robustness to Establish the Security of an Evidence Claim.
    : Evidence claims depend on fallible assumptions. This paper discusses inferential robustness as a strategy for justifying evidence claims in spite of this fallibility. I argue that robustness can be understood as a means of establishing the partial security of evidence claims. An evidence claim is secure relative to an epistemic situation if it remains true in all scenarios that are epistemically possible relative to that epistemic situation.
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  4. William L. Harper, Kent W. Staley, Henk W. De Regt & Peter Achinstein (forthcoming). Objective Evidence and Rules of Strategy: Achinstein on Method. Metascience:1-30.
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  5. Kent Staley (2012). Strategies for Securing Evidence Through Model Criticism. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):21-43.
    Some accounts of evidence regard it as an objective relationship holding between data and hypotheses, perhaps mediated by a testing procedure. Mayo’s error-statistical theory of evidence is an example of such an approach. Such a view leaves open the question of when an epistemic agent is justified in drawing an inference from such data to a hypothesis. Using Mayo’s account as an illustration, I propose a framework for addressing the justification question via a relativized notion, which I designate security , (...)
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  6. Kent W. Staley (2012). (Almost) All About Error. Metascience 21 (3):709-713.
    (Almost) All about error Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9618-1 Authors Kent W. Staley, Department of Philosophy, Saint Louis University, 3800 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  7. Kent W. Staley (2012). Dirac's “Fine-Tuning Problem”: A Constructive Use of Anachronism? Perspectives on Science 20 (4):476-503.
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  8. Kent Staley (2011). Evidence and Justification. In Gregory J. Morgan (ed.), Philosophy of Science Matters: The Philosophy of Peter Achinstein. Oxford University Press. 216.
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  9. Kent Staley & Aaron Cobb (2011). Internalist and Externalist Aspects of Justification in Scientific Inquiry. Synthese 182 (3):475-492.
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  10. Kent W. Staley (2010). Comments on William Harper's “ISaac Newton's Scientific Method”. The Modern Schoolman 87 (3-4):303-313.
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  11. Kent W. Staley (2010). Evidence and Justification in Groups with Conflicting Background Beliefs. Episteme 7 (3):232-247.
    Some prominent accounts of scientific evidence treat evidence as an unrelativized concept. But whether belief in a hypothesis is justified seems relative to the epistemic situation of the believer. The issue becomes yet more complicated in the context of group epistemic agents, for then one confronts the problem of relativizing to an epistemic situation that may include conflicting beliefs. As a step toward resolution of these difficulties, an ideal of justification is here proposed that incorporates both an unrelativized evidence requirement (...)
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  12. Kent W. Staley (2010). Special Editor's Introduction to Experimental and Theoretical Knowledge. The Modern Schoolman 87 (3-4):185-189.
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  13. William Rehg & Kent W. Staley (2008). The CDF Collaboration and Argumentation Theory: The Role of Process in Objective Knowledge. Perspectives on Science 16 (1):1-25.
    : For philosophers of science interested in elucidating the social character of science, an important question concerns the manner in which and degree to which the objectivity of scientific knowledge is socially constituted. We address this broad question by focusing specifically on philosophical theories of evidence. To get at the social character of evidence, we take an interdisciplinary approach informed by categories from argumentation studies. We then test these categories by exploring their applicability to a case study from high-energy physics. (...)
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  14. Kent Staley (2008). Error-Statistical Elimination of Alternative Hypotheses. Synthese 163 (3):397 - 408.
    I consider the error-statistical account as both a theory of evidence and as a theory of inference. I seek to show how inferences regarding the truth of hypotheses can be upheld by avoiding a certain kind of alternative hypothesis problem. In addition to the testing of assumptions behind the experimental model, I discuss the role of judgments of implausibility. A benefit of my analysis is that it reveals a continuity in the application of error-statistical assessment to low-level empirical hypotheses and (...)
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  15. Kent Staley, Securing Scientific Evidence.
    Evidence claims depend on fallible assumptions. Three strategies for making true evidence claims in spite of this fallibility are strengthening the support for those assumptions, weakening conclusions, and using multiple independent tests to produce robust evidence. Reliability itself, understood in frequentist terms, does not explain the usefulness of all three strategies; robustness, in particular, sometimes functions in a way that is not well-characterized in terms of reliability. I argue that, in addition to reliability, the security of evidence claims is of (...)
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  16. Kent Staley, Two Ways to Rule Out Error: Severity and Security.
    I contrast two modes of error-elimination relevant to evaluating evidence in accounts that emphasize frequentist reliability. The contrast corresponds to that between the use of of a reliable inference procedure and the critical scrutiny of a procedure with regard to its reliability, in light of what is and is not known about the setting in which the procedure is used. I propose a notion of security as a category of evidential assessment for the latter. In statistical settings, robustness theory and (...)
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  17. Kent W. Staley (2008). Introduction. Synthese 163 (3):299-304.
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  18. Kent Staley, Can Error-Statistical Inference Function Securely?
    This paper analyzes Deborah Mayo's error-statistical (ES) account of scientific evidence in order to clarify the kinds of "material postulates" it requires and to explain how those assumptions function. A secondary aim is to explain and illustrate the importance of the security of an inference. After finding that, on the most straightforward reading of the ES account, it does not succeed in its stated aims, two remedies are considered: either relativize evidence claims or introduce stronger assumptions. The choice between these (...)
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  19. Kent Staley, Probability in Fine-Tuning Design Arguments.
    This paper examines probabilistic versions of the fine-tuning argument for design (FTA), with an emphasis on the interpretation of the probability statements involved in such arguments. Three categories of probability are considered: physical, epistemic, and logical. Of the three possibilities, I argue that only logical probability could possibly support a cogent probabilistic FTA. However, within that framework, the premises of the argument require a level of justification that has not been met, and, it is reasonable to believe, will not be (...)
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  20. Kent W. Staley (2007). Evidential Collaborations: Epistemic and Pragmatic Considerations in "Group Belief". Social Epistemology 21 (3):321 – 335.
    This paper examines the role of evidential considerations in relation to pragmatic concerns in statements of group belief, focusing on scientific collaborations that are constituted in part by the aim of evaluating the evidence for scientific claims (evidential collaborations). Drawing upon a case study in high energy particle physics, I seek to show how pragmatic factors that enter into the decision to issue a group statement contribute positively to the epistemic functioning of such groups, contrary to the implications of much (...)
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  21. Kent Staley (2005). Book Review The Philosophy of Scientific Experimentation. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 72 (3):525-528.
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  22. Kent W. Staley (2005). Agency and Objectivity in the Search for the Top Qjjark. In P. Achinstein (ed.), Scientific Evidence: Philosophical Theories & Applications. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
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  23. Kent W. Staley (2004). Robust Evidence and Secure Evidence Claims. Philosophy of Science 71 (4):467-488.
    Many philosophers have claimed that evidence for a theory is better when multiple independent tests yield the same result, i.e., when experimental results are robust. Little has been said about the grounds on which such a claim rests, however. The present essay presents an analysis of the evidential value of robustness that rests on the fallibility of assumptions about the reliability of testing procedures and a distinction between the strength of evidence and the security of an evidence claim. Robustness can (...)
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  24. Kent W. Staley (2004). A Reasonable Defence of Experimental Physics. Metascience 13 (1):75-78.
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  25. Paul Teller, Stefano Gattei, Kent W. Staley, Eric Winsberg, James Hawthorne, Branden Fitelson, Patrick Maher, Peter Achinstein & Mathias Frisch (2004). 10. Selection, Drift, and the “Forces” of Evolution Selection, Drift, and the “Forces” of Evolution (Pp. 550-570). Philosophy of Science 71 (4).
     
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  26. Michael Friedman, Robert DiSalle, J. D. Trout, Shaun Nichols, Maralee Harrell, Clark Glymour, Carl G. Wagner, Kent W. Staley, Jesús P. Zamora Bonilla & Frederick M. Kronz (2002). 10. Interpreting Quantum Field Theory Interpreting Quantum Field Theory (Pp. 348-378). Philosophy of Science 69 (2).
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  27. Kent Staley (2002). Lange, Marc. Natural Laws in Scientific Practice. Review of Metaphysics 56 (2):435-436.
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  28. Kent W. Staley (2002). What Experiment Did We Just Do? Philosophy of Science 69 (2):279-99.
    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 (...)
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  29. Kent W. Staley (2002). What Experiment Did We Just Do? Counterfactual Error Statistics and Uncertainties About the Reference Class. Philosophy of Science 69 (2):279-299.
    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 (...)
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  30. Kent Staley (2000). Book Review:Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics Peter Galison. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 67 (2):339-.
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  31. Kent W. Staley (1999). Golden Events and Statistics: What's Wrong with Galison's Image/Logic Distinction? Perspectives on Science 7 (2):196-230.
    : Peter Galison has recently claimed that twentieth-century microphysics has been pursued by two distinct experimental traditions--the image tradition and the logic tradition--that have only recently merged into a hybrid tradition. According to Galison, the two traditions employ fundamentally different forms of experimental argument, with the logic tradition using statistical arguments, while the image tradition strives for non-statistical demonstrations based on compelling ("golden") single events. I show that discoveries in both traditions have employed the same statistical form of argument, even (...)
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  32. Kent W. Staley (1996). Novelty, Severity, and History in the Testing of Hypotheses: The Case of the Top Quark. Philosophy of Science 63 (3):255.
    It is sometimes held that facts confirm a hypothesis only if they were not used in the construction of that hypothesis. This requirement of "use novelty" introduces a historical aspect into the assessment of evidence claims. I examine a methodological principle invoked by physicists in the experimental search for the top quark that bears a striking resemblance to this view. However, this principle is better understood, both historically and philosophically, in terms of the need to conduct a severe test than (...)
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