Posted in Instructions for Applying

Application Instructions: Welcome to Summer Seminar in Phil Stat









We will offer a 2-week immersive seminar on Philosophy of Statistics (PhilStat) at Virginia Tech for faculty and post-docs in philosophy who wish to acquire or strengthen their background in PhilStat as it relates to philosophical problems of evidence and inference, to today’s statistical crisis of replication, and to associated evidence-policy debates. We also invite social scientists and methodology researchers interested in strengthening their philosophical scholarship in this arena. A total of 12-15 applicants will be selected. Given our goals, we anticipate approximately 2/3 will be philosophers, but we are not applying any rigid rules. We will consider up to 2 advanced Ph.D. students working on a dissertation that is directly in this area. Update (3/3/19): Please see important update in FAQ (5).

All accepted participants will receive private housing with kitchen facilities (Marriott Residence, Blacksburg) and a stipend of $1,000 (in 2 installments). See STIPENDS and [1].

Our primary goal is to strengthen Phil Stat research and teaching in Philosophy programs (by incorporating PhilStat). However, we wish also to enable statistical practitioners and researchers on methods to gain a greater understanding of the philosophical dimensions of statistical debates, as well as a facility in the conceptual and critical skills included under the umbrella of Phil Stat. Today’s debates are intertwined with philosophical terms that often remain vague, such as evidence, validity, inference, realism, reliability, rationality, explanation, induction, confirmation, and falsification. This hampers communication among various stakeholders, making it difficult to even see where they agree. Thus we also encourage interested social scientists and methodology researchers to apply.

Philosophy of Statistics  (Phil Stat), broadly understood
Phil Stat includes Continue reading “Application Instructions: Welcome to Summer Seminar in Phil Stat”

Posted in key articles/chapters

Key Articles/Chapters for the Summer Seminar in Phil Stat

Barnett (1999). Comparative Statistical Inference (Chapter 6: Bayesian Inference), John Wiley & Sons.

Benjamin, Berger, Johannesson et al (2017) Redefine Statistical Significance, Nature Human Behaviour 2, 6-10.

Berger, J. (2003). Could Fisher, Jeffreys and Neyman have Agreed on Testing?  Stat Sci 18: 1-12.

Berger, J. (2006). The Case for Objective Bayesian Analysis and Rejoinder, Bayesian Analysis 1(3), 385–402; 457–64.

Berger, J. & Sellke (1987). Testing a Point Null Hypothesis: The Irreconcilability of P Values and Evidence (with Discussion and Rejoinder), Journal of the American Statistical Association 82(397), 112–22; 135–9.

Bernardo, J. (1997). Non-informative Priors Do Not Exist: A Dialogue with Jose M. Bernardo, Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference 65(1), 159-77.

Casella & R. Berger (1987a). Reconciling Bayesian and Frequentist Evidence in the One-sided Testing Problem, Journal of the American Statistical Association 82(397), 106–11.

Casella, G. and Berger, R. (1987b). Comment on Testing Precise Hypotheses by J. O. Berger and M. Delampady, Statistical Science 2(3), 344–7.

Edwards, Lindman & Savage E, L, & S (1963). Bayesian Statistical Inference for Psychological Research, Psychological Review 70(3), 193–242.

Efron (2013) A 250-Year Argument: Belief, Behavior, and the Bootstrap, Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 50(1), 126–46. (15)

Fisher (1955), Statistical Methods and Scientific Induction, J R Stat Soc (B) 17: 69-78.

Gelman & Hennig (2017). Beyond Subjective and Objective in Statistics, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A 180(4), 967–1033.

Gelman & Shalizi (2013). Philosophy and the Practice of Bayesian Statistics (with discussion), Brit. J. Math. Stat. Psy. 66(1): 5-64.

Gigerenzer and Marewski (2017). Surrogate Science: The Idol of a Universal Method for Scientific Inference, Journal of management 41(2), 421-40.

Goodman (1993). P-values, Hypothesis Tests, and Likelihood-Implications for Epidemiology of a Neglected Historical Debate, American Journal of Epidemiology 137(5), 485–96.

Greenland & Poole (2013). Living with P Values: Resurrecting a Bayesian Perspective on Frequentist Statistics and Rejoinder: Living with Statistics in Observational Research, Epidemiology 24(1), 62–8; 73–8. Gelman comment.

Hacking (1980). The Theory of Probable Inference: Neyman, Peirce and Braithwaite, in Mellor, D. (ed.), Science, Belief and Behavior: Essays in Honour of R. B. Braithwaite, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 141–60.

Howson (2017). Putting on the Garber Style? Better Not, Philosophy of Science 84(4), 659-76.

Hubbard & Bayarri (2003). Confusion Over Measures of Evidence versus Errors and Rejoinder, The American Statistician 57(3), 171-8; 181-2.

Ioannidis (2005). Why most published research findings are false. PLoS Med 2(8): e124.

Kadane (2016). Beyond Hypothesis Testing, Entropy 18(5), article 199, 1–5.

Kass (2011). Statistical Inference: The Big Picture (with discussion and rejoinder), Statistical Science 26(1), 1–20.

Lakens et al (2018) Justify Your Alpha Nature Human Behaviour 2, 168-71.

Lambert & Black (2012). Learning From Our GWAS Mistakes: From Experimental Design to Scientific Method, Biostatistics 13(2), 195–203.

Levelt Committee, Noort Committee, Drenth Committee (2012). Flawed Science: The Fraudulent Research Practices of Social Psychologist Diederik Stapel, Stapel Investigation: Joint Tilburg/Groningen/Amsterdam investigation of the publications by Mr. Stapel (www.commissielevelt.nl/).

Lindley (2000). The Philosophy of Statistics (with Discussion), Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series D 49(3), 293–337.

Neyman (1956). Note on an Article by Sir Ronald Fisher, J R Stat Soc (B) 18: 288-294.

Neyman (1977). Frequentist Probability and Frequentist Statistics, Synthese 36(1), 97–131.

Neyman & Pearson (1933) On the Problem of the Most Efficient Tests of Statistical Hypotheses, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series A 231, 289–337. Reprinted in Joint Statistical Papers, 140–85.

Pearson (1955). Statistical Concepts in Their Relation to Reality, J R Stat Soc (B) 17: 204-207.

Pearson & Chandra Sekar (1936). ‘The Efficiency of Statistical Tools and a Criterion for the Rejection of Outlying Observations’, Biometrika 28 (3/4), 308–20. Reprinted 1966 in The Selected Papers of E. S. Pearson, pp. 118–30.

Popper (1962). Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge. Basic Books.

Simmons, Nelson & Simonsohn (2012). ‘A 21 word solution’, Dialogue: The Official Newsletter of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology 26(2), 4–7.

A larger list of articles and references here.

Posted in Instructions for Applying


FAQS :(3/3)

(0) What if I must miss the first day or two? We may consider an individual who has a good background and can make her case about promoting the goals of this seminar. (The stipend would be adjusted.) We should have recordings of the main sessions. Write to error@vt.edu and jemille6@vt.edu.

(1) What are the Instructions for Applying? 

These are on the first post of this blog. The Cover sheet contents may be found in the menu of pages at the top of this blog. Please type and pdf your responses.

(2) Will I have to have a background in statistics before the seminar?

The main aim of the seminar is to provide such a background. So, the answer is no. You’ll have a chance to describe your background in your application. Some will have stat and no philo, and we might break out into groups with one group working on philo, the other on stat. You can follow our current graduate Seminar on the drop-down page “PhilStat Spring 19” (at the top of the Error Statistics Philosophy blog).

It’s useful to know some probability, and I find it helpful to watch some of the seminars at the free Khan Academy: AP Statistics. Participants are expected to have read at least 3/4 of SIST (Mayo 2018) in advance so that they can participate and keep up with the discussion in our condensed schedule.

(3) Where is Virginia Tech?

Blacksburg, Virginia–in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mts pictured above.

(4) Who can I contact with questions that aren’t answered here (after December 26)?

We will try to cover all conceivable questions in the instructions here (at least by Jan. 3, 2019). However, if you have other questions, please write to

jemille6@vt.edu (logistics administrator) or error@vt.edu using the following subject for your email: SUMMERSEMINARPHILSTAT in capitals.

*(5) Are graduate students eligible to participate? Advanced graduate students working on a dissertation in this area will be considered. Interested participants who aren’t sure if they are eligible to apply should definitely ask.

*Modification (3/3) A Ph.D student already fully responsible for teaching a course in 2019-20, who can show the goals of our Seminar are furthered by how it will alter the material of that course (& the topics of their dissertation), may be considered,

(6) Are individuals who teach in business, statistics or other fields who feel they would contribute to our mission eligible? Yes. Explain in your application how your project or research would bring our goals to fruition.

(7) What if families require larger dwellings? Blacksburg offers a wide-range of summer rentals of houses and apts. We will do our best to facilitate any participant needing such arrangements.

Posted in Uncategorized

American Phil Assoc Blog: The Stat Crisis of Science: Where are the Philosophers?

Ship StatInfasST

The Statistical Crisis of Science: Where are the Philosophers?

This was published today on the American Philosophical Association blog

“[C]onfusion about the foundations of the subject is responsible, in my opinion, for much of the misuse of the statistics that one meets in fields of application such as medicine, psychology, sociology, economics, and so forth.” (George Barnard 1985, p. 2)

“Relevant clarifications of the nature and roles of statistical evidence in scientific research may well be achieved by bringing to bear in systematic concert the scholarly methods of statisticians, philosophers and historians of science, and substantive scientists…” (Allan Birnbaum 1972, p. 861).

“In the training program for PhD students, the relevant basic principles of philosophy of science, methodology, ethics and statistics that enable the responsible practice of science must be covered.” (p. 57, Committee Investigating fraudulent research practices of social psychologist Diederik Stapel)

I was the lone philosophical observer at a special meeting convened by the American Statistical Association (ASA) in 2015 to construct a non-technical document to guide users of statistical significance tests–one of the most common methods used to distinguish genuine effects from chance variability across a landscape of social, physical and biological sciences.

It was, by the ASA Director’s own description, “historical”, but it was also highly philosophical, and its ramifications are only now being discussed and debated. Today, introspection on statistical methods is rather common due to the “statistical crisis in science”. What is it? In a nutshell: high powered computer methods make it easy to arrive at impressive-looking ‘findings’ that too often disappear when others try to replicate them when hypotheses and data analysis protocols are required to be fixed in advance.

Continue reading “American Phil Assoc Blog: The Stat Crisis of Science: Where are the Philosophers?”

Posted in Current PhilStat Articles

Current (or recent) PhilStat Articles of Relevance: Use comments to add your exs

1  COMPare: Qualitative analysis of researchers’ responses to critical correspondence on a cohort of 58 misreported trials

This is an important and illuminating study on misreporting results of medical trials, along with inaccurate explanations (by authors) of what was done (as a result of letters by Goldacre’s group).


enhanced pdf:




Marriott Residence Inn, Blacksburg

Participants will each have their own suite at the Marriott Residence Inn, Blacksburg (We will pay the housing directly.)
It’s new and really nice! Details on reserving your room will be given upon your acceptance to the seminar, and your agreeing to participate. For participants needing several bedrooms, we will help you seek the many rental opportunities in Blacksburg on  Airbnb.

Posted in Uncategorized

Local Maps & Transportation

Nearest Airport: Roanoke (ROA): http://www.roanokeairport.com/

  • SmartWay Bus:$4, but does not go to Marriott, stops at Squires Student Center (~1 mile walk uphill).
  • Car Rentals (Budget, Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise)
  • Roanoke Airport Transportation Service: (Direct to & from the Marriott Residence Inn)
    $66/1 person/1 way
    $33/each for 2  people/1 way
    $30/each for 3 or more people/1 way
    Reservations/Contact: Toll Free Number: 1-800-288-1958
  • Taxi Ride (in general): ~$70/one-way

Other Airports within driving distance:

  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT): Charlotte NC, 178 miles from Blacksburg, 3 hour drive using I-77
  • Dulles International Airport (IAD): Washington DC, 255 miles via I-81, a little over 4 hours driving.

Local Maps:

VT main campus map

Blacksburg VA street map


Blacksburg Transit (City & Campus Bus):

Home page; (including live bus map)
Fare: 50 cents

Posted in local attractions

Blacksburg for Children: Recreation & Summer Camps

Blacksburg Children’s Museum:Wonder Universe (website)

New River Valley Mall
782 New River Road
Christiansburg, VA 24073
Email: hello@wonderuniverse.org
Phone: 540 953 0103

Blacksburg Municipal Park(website)—aka Caboose Park

Playgrounds, sports fields (baseball, soccer); tennis courts, picnic tables, restrooms, Hand in Hand playground, includes mazes of slides & climbing areas.
920 Turner St. or 615 Patrick Henry Dr., Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 443-1100 Continue reading “Blacksburg for Children: Recreation & Summer Camps”