Robustness, Diversity of Evidence, and Probabilistic Independence
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In robustness analysis, hypotheses are supported to the extent that a result proves robust, and a result is robust to the extent that we detect it in diverse ways. But what precise sense of diversity is at work here? In this paper, I show that the formal explications of evidential diversity most often appealed to in work on robustness – which all draw in one way or another on probabilistic independence – fail to shed light on the notion of diversity relevant to robustness analysis. I close by briefly outlining a promising alternative approach inspired by Horwich’s (Probability and evidence. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1982) eliminative account of evidential diversity.
KeywordsRobustness analysis Evidential diversity Probabilistic independence Probability Confirmation theory Eliminativism
I am grateful for the helpful conversations I have shared on this topic with Aki Lehtinen, Chiara Lisciandra, Gerhard Schurz, Jacob Stegenga, and Ioannis Votsis. Also, thanks to two anonymous referees for their helpful suggestions, which allowed me to improve an earlier draft of this paper. Research for this article was supported by an Aldrich Fellowship from the University of Utah’s Tanner Humanities Center, and was conducted during a visit to the Düsseldorf Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science.
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