The objectivity of Subjective Bayesianism

European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):539-558 (2018)
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Abstract

Subjective Bayesianism is a major school of uncertain reasoning and statistical inference. It is often criticized for a lack of objectivity: it opens the door to the influence of values and biases, evidence judgments can vary substantially between scientists, it is not suited for informing policy decisions. My paper rebuts these concerns by connecting the debates on scientific objectivity and statistical method. First, I show that the above concerns arise equally for standard frequentist inference with null hypothesis significance tests. Second, the criticisms are based on specific senses of objectivity with unclear epistemic value. Third, I show that Subjective Bayesianism promotes other, epistemically relevant senses of scientific objectivity—most notably by increasing the transparency of scientific reasoning.

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