Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2299-2313 (2015)

Remco Heesen
University of Western Australia
A number of philosophers of science and statisticians have attempted to justify conclusions drawn from a finite sequence of evidence by appealing to results about what happens if the length of that sequence tends to infinity. If their justifications are to be successful, they need to rely on the finite sequence being either indefinitely increasing or of a large size. These assumptions are often not met in practice. This paper analyzes a simple model of collecting evidence and finds that the practice of collecting only very small sets of evidence before taking a question to be settled is rationally justified. This shows that the appeal to long run results can be used neither to explain the success of actual scientific practice nor to give a rational reconstruction of that practice.
Keywords Philosophy of science  Evidence  Rational choice  Formal epistemology  Bayesian epistemology  Sequential decision problems
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Reprint years 2013, 2015
DOI 10.1007/s11098-014-0411-z
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References found in this work BETA

The Logic of Scientific Discovery.Karl Raimund Popper - 1934 - London, England: Routledge.
Bayes or Bust?John Earman - 1992 - Bradford.
The Logic of Scientific Discovery.K. Popper - 1959 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 10 (37):55-57.

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