Review of Deborah G. Mayo, Aris Spanos (eds.), Error and Inference: Recent Exchanges on Experimental Reasoning, Reliability, and the Objectivity and Rationality of Science [Book Review]

Adam La Caze
University of Queensland
Deborah Mayo's view of science is that learning occurs by severely testing specific hypotheses. Mayo expounded this thesis in her (1996) Error and the Growth of Experimental Knowledge (EGEK). This volume consists of a series of exchanges between Mayo and distinguished philosophers representing competing views of the philosophy of science. The tone of the exchanges is lively, edifying and enjoyable. Mayo's error-statistical philosophy of science is critiqued in the light of positions which place more emphasis on large-scale theories. The result clarifies Mayo's account and highlights her contribution to the philosophy of science -- in particular, her contribution to the philosophy of those sciences that rely heavily on statistical analysis. The second half of the volume considers the application (or extension) of an error-statistical philosophy of science to theory testing in economics, causal modelling and legal epistemology. The volume also includes a contribution to the frequentist philosophy of statistics written by Mayo in collaboration with Sir David Cox.
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