PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Effects and Artifacts: Robustness Analysis and the Production Process

Scientists often use multiple independent methods of identification to distinguish reliable results from those produced in error (artifacts). This process is referred to as ‘robustness analysis’. I argue that even though robustness analysis is useful for differentiating natural phenomena from artifacts, it fails to differentiate experimentally produced effects from artifacts. I argue that to bypass this problem, we can re-frame the role of robustness analysis to focus on cross-comparison between methods of production. Focusing on the production relation provides information about how changes in conditions alter given effects, without first having to make a distinction between effect and artifact.

Author Information:

Vadim Keyser    
UC Davis


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