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The Duhem-Quine thesis and experimental economics A reinterpretation

The Duhem-Quine thesis and experimental economics A reinterpretation

Morten Søberg

Abstract:


The 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.

http://www.ssb.no/publikasjoner/pdf/dp-329-aug02.pdf

QUOTE

∀h ∀b ∀e ∃a′ (h ∧ a′ ∧ b)→e

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Comment by John A Morrison on August 12, 2012 at 10:57pm

I found a printed version of this in an old box folder from 2002; its the argument for "the RF" (Reduced Form) in my view; in terms of Econometrics (as opposed to the argument in Quantitative Finance) its the logic, the theory behind the Factor Model; in my view.

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