“[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).
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.
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.
SmartWay Bus:$4, (exact change) but does not go to Marriott, stops at Squires Student Center (~1 mile walk uphill). Schedule. [UPDATE: SmartWay Bus DOES NOT RUN on Sundays, and does not have any transfer arrangements to airport) (SmartWay FAQs here.)
Roanoke Airport Transportation Service: SHUTTLE VAN–you should reserve a seat in advance!(Direct to & from the Marriott Residence Inn), located in the baggage area of the airport. You can call or email to make a reservation. $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
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 .
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.