A Frequentist Solution to Lindley & Phillips’ Stopping Rule Problem in Ecological Realm

Zagadnienia Naukoznawstwa 50 (200):135-145 (2014)
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Abstract
In this paper I provide a frequentist philosophical-methodological solution for the stopping rule problem presented by Lindley & Phillips in 1976, which is settled in the ecological realm of testing koalas’ sex ratio. I deliver criteria for discerning a stopping rule, an evidence and a model that are epistemically more appropriate for testing the hypothesis of the case studied, by appealing to physical notion of probability and by analyzing the content of possible formulations of evidence, assumptions of models and meaning of the ecological hypothesis. First, I show the difference in the evidence taken into account in different frequentist sampling procedures presented in the problem. Next, I discuss the inapplicability of the Carnapian principle of total evidence in deciding which formulation of evidence associated with a given sampling procedure and statistical model is epistemically more appropriate for testing the hypothesis in question. Then I propose a double-perspective (evidence and model) frequentist solution based on the choice of evidence which better corresponds to the investigated ecological hypothesis, as well as on the choice of a model that embraces less unrealistic ontological assumptions. Finally, I discuss two perspectives of the stopping rule dependence.
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