Two senses of experimental robustness: Result robustness and procedure robustness

Koray Karaca*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In the philosophical literature concerning scientific experimentation, the notion of robustness has been solely discussed in relation to experimental results. In this article, I propose a novel sense of experimental robustness that applies to experimental procedures. I call the foregoing sense of robustness 'procedure robustness' (PR) and characterize it as the capacity of an experimental procedure to maintain its intended function invariant during the experimental process despite possible variations in its inputs. I argue that PR is a precondition for what I call 'result robustness' (RR), which refers to the traditional sense of experimental robustness, namely, the existence of convergent experimental results obtained through different and independent means of detection. Furthermore, I argue, PR and RR constitute useful experimental strategies in the context of high-energy physics experiments, but these strategies are not without limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal for the Philosophy of Science
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 2021

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