6334 (Q-2)


Phil 6334: S 14

Reading/Review Questions 2: (Reading for February 27 and March 6)
Due March 6, 2014

In a well written ~ 3.5 page (double-spaced) essay, discuss either 1 or 2. Focus on explaining the concepts and issues in the reading. Use quotes from the text. Aside from answering the questions, handle the essay in any way you want, focusing on whatever interests you the most. Less is more: explain just a few things clearly and thoughtfully, rather than trying to cover the ground. (I’ve included specifics just as prompts.)

  1. Selection effects, FEV, and SEV: One of the most controversial issues in the philosophy of statistics revolves around the question of whether to permit or prohibit (or at least adjust for) a variety of data dependent “selection effects:” Describe one example of a selection effect from the reading (Mayo and Cox 2010). What kind of rationale do they propose for “adjustments for selection” and why is the case of searching for statistical significance (in example 1) treated differently from searching for a DNA match (in example 2)?

You may raise any questions that come to mind. (Optional: Chapter 8 of Mayo EGEK).

  1. The Higgs Boson discovery, 5 sigma and p-values. Using the materials from errorstatistics.com blog, the draft of a section from Mayo’s chapter 3, and the links provided (or your own research), describe the main controversies the case poses for philosophy of statistics.  For example, (a) Mayo argues that the 5-sigma requirement reflects the desire to ensure that before announcing the hypothesis H*: “a SM Higgs boson has been discovered” that H* has passed a severe test, (b) Dennis Lindley claims the evidential requirement is too demanding and even “bad science” (why?) Then there are (c) the “p-value police” who criticize some of the reports of the p-values associated with the Higgs result. Take whichever elements of the case interest you, touching at least upon two of (a), (b), and (c).

If you wish to give a 15 minute oral presentation using notes that you turn in rather than writing an essay that’s fine (but let me know—only one person can do this.)

I encourage you to share and comment on each other’s essays for clarity and style.

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