Attitudes Toward Epistemic Risk and the Value of Experiments
Author: Fallis, Don
Source: Studia Logica, Volume 86, Number 2, July 2007 , pp. 215-246(32)
Abstract:Several different Bayesian models of epistemic utilities (see, e.g., , , , ) have been used to explain why it is rational for scientists to perform experiments. In this paper, I argue that a model–suggested independently by Patrick Maher  and Graham Oddie –that assigns epistemic utility to degrees of belief in hypotheses provides the most comprehensive explanation. This is because this proper scoring rule (PSR) model captures a wider range of scientifically acceptable attitudes toward epistemic risk than the other Bayesian models that have been proposed. I also argue, however, that even the PSR model places unreasonably tight restrictions on a scientist’s attitude toward epistemic risk. As a result, such Bayesian models of epistemic utilities fail as normative accounts–not just as descriptive accounts (see, e.g., , )–of scientific inquiry.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: July 1, 2007