Robustness, discordance, and relevance

Philosophy of Science 76 (5):650-661 (2009)
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Abstract

Robustness is a common platitude: hypotheses are better supported with evidence generated by multiple techniques that rely on different background assumptions. Robustness has been put to numerous epistemic tasks, including the demarcation of artifacts from real entities, countering the “experimenter’s regress,” and resolving evidential discordance. Despite the frequency of appeals to robustness, the notion itself has received scant critique. Arguments based on robustness can give incorrect conclusions. More worrying is that although robustness may be valuable in ideal evidential circumstances (i.e., when evidence is concordant), often when a variety of evidence is available from multiple techniques, the evidence is discordant. †To contact the author, please write to: Jacob Stegenga, Department of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093; e‐mail: [email protected]

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Jacob Stegenga
Cambridge University

Citations of this work

Is Meta-Analysis the Platinum Standard of Evidence?Jacob Stegenga - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (4):497-507.
Philosophy of Psychiatry.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice.Harry Collins - 1985 - Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Representing and Intervening.Ian Hacking - 1984 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (4):381-390.

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