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How to Weight Scientists' Probabilities Is Not a Big Problem: Comment on Barnes
Paul E. Meehl
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Vol. 50, No. 2 (Jun., 1999), pp. 283-295
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Society for the Philosophy of Science
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40072224
Page Count: 13
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Assuming it rational to treat other persons' probabilities as epistemically significant, how shall their judgements be weighted (Barnes )? Several plausible methods exist, but theorems in classical psychometrics greatly reduce the importance of the problem. If scientists' judgements tend to be positively correlated, the difference between two randomly weighted composites shrinks as the number of judges rises. Since, for reasons such as representative coverage, minimizing bias, and avoiding elitism, we would rarely employ small numbers of judges (e.g. less than 10), the difference between two weighting systems becomes negligible. Suggestions are made for quantifying verisimilitude, identifying 'types' of scientists or theories (taxometrics), inferring latent factors, and estimating reliability of pooled judgements.
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science © 1999 The British Society for the Philosophy of Science