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Confirmation: What's in the evidence?

Listed author(s):
  • Mitesh Kataria


    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)

In this paper, I discuss the difference between accommodated evidence (i.e. when evidence is known first and a hypothesis is the proposed to explain and fit the observations) and predicted evidence (i.e., when evidence verifies the prediction of a hypothesis formulated before observing the evidence) from a behavioral as well as a statistical perspective. Using a factorial survey on a sample of students, I show that predicted evidence is perceived to constitute stronger confirmation than accommodated evidence. This position deviates from the standard Bayesian epistemological theory of confirmation where accommodated and predicted evidence constitute equally strong confirmation. The findings suggests that trusting a model to predict correctly is intrinsically related to trust in the proposers' (i.e., the scientists') level of knowledge, and relatively more subjects are persuaded by a proposer's abilities if the proposer is successful in predicting rather than accommodating evidence. The existence of an indirect relationship between hypothesis and evidence can be considered to impose undesirable subjectivity and arbitrariness on questions of evidential support.

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Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2013-025.

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Date of creation: 11 Jun 2013
Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2013-025
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
  2. Kahn, James A. & Landsburg, Steven E. & Stockman, Alan C., 1996. "The Positive Economics of Methodology," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 64-76, January.
  3. Leamer, Edward E, 1983. "Let's Take the Con Out of Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 31-43, March.
  4. Williamson, Jon, 2015. "Deliberation, Judgement And The Nature Of Evidence," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(01), pages 27-65, March.
  5. Halbert White, 2000. "A Reality Check for Data Snooping," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1097-1126, September.
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