The Duhem-Quine thesis and experimental economics. A reinterpretation
AbstractThe Duhem-Quine thesis asserts that any empirical evaluation of a theory is in fact a composite test of several interconnected hypotheses. Recalcitrant evidence signals falsity within the conjunction of hypotheses, but logic alone cannot pinpoint the individual element(s) inside the theoretical cluster responsible for a false prediction. This paper considers the relevance of the Duhem-Quine thesis for experimental economics. A starting point is to detail how laboratory evaluations of economic hypotheses constitute composite tests. Another aim is to scrutinize the strategy of conducting a series of experiments in order to hem in the source(s) of disconfirmative evidence. A Bayesian approach is employed to argue that reproducing experiments is not necessarily useful in terms of identifying correct causes of recalcitrant data.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 329.
Date of creation: Aug 2002
Date of revision:
Experimental economics; methodology; Duhem-Quine thesis.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
- C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2003-06-04 (All new papers)
- NEP-EXP-2003-06-04 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2003-06-04 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
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