Against theory-motivated data collection in science

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Submission Summary
We study the epistemic success of different data collection strategies. We develop a computational multi-agent model of the scientific process that jointly formalizes its core aspects: data collection, data explanation, and social learning. We find that agents who choose new experiments at random develop the most accurate accounts of the world. On the other hand, the agents following the confirmation, falsification, crucial experimentation (theoretical disagreement), or novelty-motivated strategies end up with an illusion of epistemic success: they develop promising accounts for the data they collected, while completely misrepresenting the ground truth that they intended to learn about.
Submission ID :
PSA2022430
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PhD student
,
Indiana University
University of California Irvine
Carnegie Mellon University

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