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Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

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5 April 2005, Statistical Inference, the Problem of Induction, and the Realism Debate, Jan-Willem Romeyn

Speaker: Jan-Willem Romeyn
Date: Tuesday 5 April 2005
Time: 16:00
Location: Department of Psychology, Roeterstraat 15, A 102

Science infers general statements and predictions from limited bodies of empirical evidence, and it therefore faces the problem of induction. Statistics plays an important role in how science solves this problem. In my talk I first make precise what role it plays, and then investigate the extent to which, in this role, it can support the realist ambitions of science.

The first task involves a critical analysis of the logical empiricist views of Carnap, and a reformulation of inductive inferences as Bayesian logical arguments. The second involves a reversed application of De Finetti's representation theorem, and a rather delicate mix of his strict subjectivism with the frequentist theory. However, these reform measures do not yet go far enough. In the last part of the talk will argue that scientists have good reasons for employing underdetermined statistical models.

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Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.