PhilSci Archive

Why Experiments Matter

Currie, Adrian and Levy, Arnon (2018) Why Experiments Matter. [Preprint]

[img]
Preview
Text
why experiments matter preprint.pdf

Download (537kB) | Preview

Abstract

Experimentation is traditionally considered a privileged means of confirmation. However, how experiments are a better confirmatory source than other strategies is unclear, and recent discussions have identified experiments with various modeling strategies on the one hand, and with ‘natural’ experiments on the other hand. We argue that experiments aiming to test theories are best understood as controlled investigations of specimens. ‘Control’ involves repeated, fine-grained causal manipulation of focal properties. This capacity generates rich knowledge of the object investigated. ‘Specimenhood’ involves possessing relevant properties given the investigative target and the hypothesis in question. Specimens are thus representative members of a class of systems, to which a hypothesis refers. It is in virtue of both control and specimenhood that experiments provide powerful confirmatory evidence. This explains the distinctive power of experiments: although modellers exert extensive control, they do not exert this control over specimens; although natural experiments utilize specimens, control is diminished.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Currie, Adrian
Levy, Arnonarnondor@gmail.com
Subjects: General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Dr Adrian Currie
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2018 01:21
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2018 01:21
Item ID: 14923
Subjects: General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 2018
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14923

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item