Journal Article

Models and Statistical Inference: The Controversy between Fisher and Neyman–Pearson

Johannes Lenhard

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 57, issue 1, pages 69-91
Published in print March 2006 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axi152
Models and Statistical Inference: The Controversy between Fisher and Neyman–Pearson

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The main thesis of the paper is that in the case of modern statistics, the differences between the various concepts of models were the key to its formative controversies. The mathematical theory of statistical inference was mainly developed by Ronald A. Fisher, Jerzy Neyman, and Egon S. Pearson. Fisher on the one side and Neyman–Pearson on the other were involved often in a polemic controversy. The common view is that Neyman and Pearson made Fisher's account more stringent mathematically. It is argued, however, that there is a profound theoretical basis for the controversy: both sides held conflicting views about the role of mathematical modelling. At the end, the influential programme of Exploratory Data Analysis is considered to be advocating another, more instrumental conception of models.

Introduction

Models in statistics—‘of what population is this a random sample?’

The fundamental lemma

Controversy about models

Exploratory data analysis as a model-critical approach

Journal Article.  9782 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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