Robustness Analysis as Explanatory Reasoning

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw008 (2016)
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Abstract

When scientists seek further confirmation of their results, they often attempt to duplicate the results using diverse means. To the extent that they are successful in doing so, their results are said to be robust. This paper investigates the logic of such "robustness analysis" [RA]. The most important and challenging question an account of RA can answer is what sense of evidential diversity is involved in RAs. I argue that prevailing formal explications of such diversity are unsatisfactory. I propose a unified, explanatory account of diversity in RAs. The resulting account is, I argue, truer to actual cases of RA in science; moreover, this account affords us a helpful, new foothold on the logic undergirding RAs.

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Jonah N. Schupbach
University of Utah

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