Posts Tagged With: Deconstruction

U-Phil: Deconstructions [of J. Berger]: Irony & Bad Faith 3

Memory Lane: 2 years ago:
My efficient Errorstat Blogpeople1 have put forward the following 3 reader-contributed interpretive efforts2 as a result of the “deconstruction” exercise from December 11, (mine, from the earlier blog, is at the end) of what I consider:

“….an especially intriguing remark by Jim Berger that I think bears upon the current mindset (Jim is aware of my efforts):

Too often I see people pretending to be subjectivists, and then using “weakly informative” priors that the objective Bayesian community knows are terrible and will give ridiculous answers; subjectivism is then being used as a shield to hide ignorance. . . . In my own more provocative moments, I claim that the only true subjectivists are the objective Bayesians, because they refuse to use subjectivism as a shield against criticism of sloppy pseudo-Bayesian practice. (Berger 2006, 463)” (From blogpost, Dec. 11, 2011)
_________________________________________________
Andrew Gelman:

The statistics literature is big enough that I assume there really is some bad stuff out there that Berger is reacting to, but I think that when he’s talking about weakly informative priors, Berger is not referring to the work in this area that I like, as I think of weakly informative priors as specifically being designed to give answers that are _not_ “ridiculous.”

Keeping things unridiculous is what regularization’s all about, and one challenge of regularization (as compared to pure subjective priors) is that the answer to the question, What is a good regularizing prior?, will depend on the likelihood.  There’s a lot of interesting theory and practice relating to weakly informative priors for regularization, a lot out there that goes beyond the idea of noninformativity.

To put it another way:  We all know that there’s no such thing as a purely noninformative prior:  any model conveys some information.  But, more and more, I’m coming across applied problems where I wouldn’t want to be noninformative even if I could, problems where some weak prior information regularizes my inferences and keeps them sane and under control. Continue reading

Categories: Gelman, Irony and Bad Faith, J. Berger, Statistics, U-Phil | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Deconstructing Larry Wasserman–it starts like this…

In my July 8, 2012 post “Metablog: Up and Coming,” I wrote: “I will attempt a (daring) deconstruction of Professor Wasserman’s paper[i] and at that time will invite your “U-Phils” for posting around a week after (<1000 words).” These could reflect on Wasserman’s paper and/or my deconstruction of it. See an earlier post for the way we are using “deconstructing” here. For some guides, see “so you want to do a philosophical analysis“.

So my Wasserman deconstruction notes have been sitting in the “draft” version of this blog for several days as we focused on other things.  Here’s how it starts…

             Deconstructing Larry Wasserman–it starts like this…

1.Al Franken’s Joke

The temptation is strong, but I shall refrain from using the whole post to deconstruct Al Franken’s 2003 quip about media bias (from Lies and Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right), with which Larry Wasserman begins his paper “Low Assumptions, High Dimensions” (2011):

To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is: do they use too much oil in their hummus?

According to Wasserman, “a similar comment could be applied to the usual debates in the foundations of statistical inference.”

Although it’s not altogether clear what Wasserman means by his analogy with comedian (now senator) Franken, it’s clear enough what Franken means if we follow up the quip with the next sentence in his text (which Wasserman omits): “The problem with al Qaeda is that they’re trying to kill us!” (p. 1) The rest of Franken’s opening chapter is not about al Qaeda but about bias in media.

But what does this have to do with the usual debates in the foundations of statistical inference? What is Wasserman, deep down, perhaps unconsciously, really, really, possibly implicitly, trying to tell us by way of this analogy? Such are the ponderings in my deconstruction of him…

Yet the footnote to my July 8 blog also said that my post assumed ” I don’t chicken out”.  So I will put it aside until I get a chorus of encouragement to post it…

Categories: Philosophy of Statistics, Statistics, U-Phil | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Metablog: Up and Coming

Dear Reader: Over the next week, in addition to a regularly scheduled post by Professor Stephen Senn, we will be taking up two papers[i] from the contributions to the special topic: “Statistical Science and Philosophy of Science: Where Do (Should) They Meet in 2011 and Beyond?” in Rationality, Markets and Morals: Studies at the Intersection of Philosophy and Economics.

I will attempt a (daring) deconstruction of Professor Wasserman’s paper[ii] and at that time will invite your “U-Phils” for posting around a week after (<1000 words).  I will be posting comments by Clark Glymour on Sir David Hendry’s paper later in the week. So you may want to study those papers in advance.

The first “deconstruction” (“Irony and Bad Faith, Deconstructing Bayesians 1”) may be found here / https://errorstatistics.com/2012/04/17/3466/; for a selection of both U-Phils and Deconstructions, see https://errorstatistics.com/2012/04/17/3466/

D. Mayo

P.S. Those who had laughed at me for using this old trusty typewriter were asking to borrow it last week when we lost power for 6 days and their computers were down.


[i] *L. Wasserman, “Low Assumptions, High Dimensions”. RMM Vol. 2, 2011, 201–209;

D. Hendry, “Empirical Economic Model Discovery and Theory Evaluation”. RMM Vol. 2, 2011, 115–145.

[ii] Assuming I don’t chicken out.

Categories: Metablog, Philosophy of Statistics, U-Phil | Tags: , | Leave a comment

U-Phil: Jon Williamson: Deconstructing Dynamic Dutch Books

Jon Williamson

I am  posting Jon Williamson’s* (Philosophy, Kent) U-Phil from 4-15-12

In this paper http://www.springerlink.com/content/q175036678w17478 (Synthese 178:67–85) I identify four ways in which Bayesian conditionalisation can fail. Of course not all Bayesians advocate conditionalisation as a universal rule, and I argue that objective Bayesianism as based on the maximum entropy principle should be preferred to subjective Bayesianism as based on conditionalisation, where the two disagree.

Conditionalisation is just one possible way of updating probabilities and I think it’s interesting to see how different formal approaches compare.

*Williamson participated in our June 2010 “Phil-Stat Meets Phil Sci” conference at the LSE, and we jointly ran a conference at Kent in June 2009.

Categories: Statistics, U-Phil | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Earlier U-Phils and Deconstructions

Dear Reader: If you wish to see some previous rounds of philosophical analyses and deconstructions on this blog, we’ve listed some of them below:(search this blog under “U-Phil” for more)

Introductory explanation: https://errorstatistics.com/2012/01/13/u-phil-so-you-want-to-do-a-philosophical-analysis/

Mayo on Jim Berger:  https://errorstatistics.com/2011/12/11/irony-and-bad-faith-deconstructing-bayesians-1/

Contributed deconstructions of J. Berger: https://errorstatistics.com/2011/12/26/contributed-deconstructions-irony-bad-faith-3/

J. Berger on J. Berger: https://errorstatistics.com/2011/12/29/jim-berger-on-jim-berger/

Mayo on Senn:  https://errorstatistics.com/2012/01/15/mayo-philosophizes-on-stephen-senn-how-can-we-cultivate-senns-ability/

Others on Senn: https://errorstatistics.com/2012/01/22/u-phil-stephen-senn-1-c-robert-a-jaffe-and-mayo-brief-remarks/

Gelman on Senn: https://errorstatistics.com/2012/01/23/u-phil-stephen-senn-2-andrew-gelman/

Senn on Senn: http://errorstatistics.com/2012/01/24/u-phil-3-stephen-senn-on-stephen-senn/

Mayo, Senn & Wasserman on Gelman: https://errorstatistics.com/2012/03/06/2645/

Hennig on Gelman: https://errorstatistics.com/2012/03/10/a-further-comment-on-gelman-by-c-hennig/

Deconstructing Dutch books: https://errorstatistics.com/2012/04/15/3376/

Deconstructing Larry Wasserman
https://errorstatistics.com/2012/07/28/u-phil-deconstructing-larry-wasserman/

Aris Spanos on Larry Wasserman
https://errorstatistics.com/2012/08/08/u-phil-aris-spanos-on-larry-wasserman/

Hennig and Gelman on Wasserman
https://errorstatistics.com/2012/08/10/u-phil-hennig-and-gelman-on-wasserman-2011/

Wasserman replies to Spanos and Hennig
https://errorstatistics.com/2012/08/11/u-phil-wasserman-replies-to-spanos-and-hennig/

concluding the deconstruction: Wasserman-Mayo
https://errorstatistics.com/2012/08/13/u-phil-concluding-the-deconstruction-wasserman-mayo/

https://errorstatistics.com/2013/02/10/u-phil-gandenberger-hennig-birnbaums-proof/

https://errorstatistics.com/2013/01/30/u-phil-j-a-miller-blogging-the-slp/

 

There are  others, but this should do; if you care to write on my previous post (send directly to error@vt.edu).

Sincerely,

D Mayo

Categories: philosophy of science, U-Phil | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

U-Phil: Deconstructing Dynamic Dutch-Books?

Oh, she takes care of herself, she can wait if she wants,
She’s ahead of her time.
Oh, and s
he never gives out and she never gives in,
She just changes her mind.

(Billy Joel, “She’s Always a Woman”)

If we agree that we have degrees of belief in any and all propositions, then, it is often argued (by Bayesians), that if your beliefs do not conform to the probability calculus, you are being incoherent, and will lose money for sure (by a clever enough bookie). We can accept the claim that, were we required to take bets on our degrees of belief, then given that we prefer not to lose, we would not accept bets that ensured our losing. But this is a tautology, as others have pointed out, and entails nothing about degree of belief assignments. “That an agent ought not to accept a set of wagers according to which she loses come what may, if she would prefer not to lose, is a matter of deductive logic and not a property of beliefs” (Bacchus, Kyburg, and Thalos 1990: 476).[i] Nor need coerced (or imaginary) betting rates actually measure an agent’s degrees of belief in the truth of scientific hypothesis..

Nowadays, surprisingly, most Bayesian philosophers seem to dismiss as irrelevant the variety of threats of being Dutch-booked. Confronted with counterexamples in which violating Bayes’s rule seems perfectly rational on intuitive grounds, Bayesians contort themselves into a great many knots in order to retain the underlying Bayesian philosophy while sacrificing updating rules, long held to be the very essence of Bayesian reasoning. To face contemporary positions squarely calls for rather imaginative deconstructions. I invite your deconstructions (to error@vt.edu) by April 23 (see So You Want to Do a Philosophical Analysis). Says Howson:

“It is the entirely rational claim that I may be induced to act irrationally that the dynamic Dutch book argument, absurdly, would condemn as incoherent”. (Howson 1997: 287)[ii] [iii]

It used to be that frequentists and others who sounded the alarm about temporal incoherency were declared irrational. Now, it is the traditional insistence on updating by Bayes’s rule that was irrational all along. Continue reading

Categories: Statistics, U-Phil | Tags: , | 22 Comments

Contributed Deconstructions: Irony & Bad Faith 3

My efficient Errorstat Blogpeople1 have put forward the following 3 reader-contributed interpretive efforts2 as a result of the “deconstruction” exercise from December 11, (mine, from the earlier blog, is at the end) of what I consider:

“….an especially intriguing remark by Jim Berger that I think bears upon the current mindset (Jim is aware of my efforts):

Too often I see people pretending to be subjectivists, and then using “weakly informative” priors that the objective Bayesian community knows are terrible and will give ridiculous answers; subjectivism is then being used as a shield to hide ignorance. . . . In my own more provocative moments, I claim that the only true subjectivists are the objective Bayesians, because they refuse to use subjectivism as a shield against criticism of sloppy pseudo-Bayesian practice. (Berger 2006, 463)” (From blogpost, Dec. 11, 2011) Continue reading

Categories: Irony and Bad Faith, Statistics, U-Phil | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

Deconstructing and Deep-Drilling* 2

Constructing Thebes Library: 2002

Deconstructing: The deconstructionist idea, initially associated with French philosophers like Derrida, and literary theory, denies that a “text” has a single interpretation, intended by the author, but rather that the reader constructs its meaning, unearthing conscious or unconscious significations. While the general philosophy is linked with relativism, postmodernism, and social constructivism—positions to which I am highly allergic—one needn’t embrace them to accord validity to the activity of disinterring meanings: ironies, deceptions, and unintended assumptions and twists in an author’s writing. The passage I cited from Berger seems to offer an example for creative deconstruction of the statistical kind. I wouldn’t have proposed the exercise if I didn’t suspect we might learn something of relevance to our deep-sea drilling activity…. Please continue to send your ponderings….

* DO stock is nearly at a year low! (I surmise a fairly quick trip back up 10 points)

Categories: Irony and Bad Faith, philosophy of science, U-Phil | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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