Robust evidence and secure evidence claims

Philosophy of Science 71 (4):467-488 (2004)
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Many philosophers have claimed that evidence for a theory is better when multiple independent tests yield the same result, i.e., when experimental results are robust. Little has been said about the grounds on which such a claim rests, however. The present essay presents an analysis of the evidential value of robustness that rests on the fallibility of assumptions about the reliability of testing procedures and a distinction between the strength of evidence and the security of an evidence claim. Robustness can enhance the security of an evidence claim either by providing what I call second-order evidence, or by providing back-up evidence for a hypothesis.

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Kent Staley
Saint Louis University


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