On April 8th, Elliot Sober (University of Wisconsin–Madison) is invited in the research seminar of the Choice Group of the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences (CPNSS) (London School of Economics) (from 5.30 to 7.00 pm, LAK.2.06, 2nd floor of the Lakatos Building, Portugal Street). The title of his presentation will be “The Philosophical Significance of Stein’s Paradox“.
Abstract: Charles Stein discovered a paradox in 1955 that many statisticians think is of fundamental importance. Here we explore its philosophical implications. We outline the nature of Stein’s result and of subsequent work on shrinkage estimators; then we describe how these results are related to Bayesianism and to model selection criteria like AIC. We also discuss their bearing on scientific realism and instrumentalism. We argue that results concerning shrinkage estimators underwrite a surprising form of holistic pragmatism.