Philosophy of Statistics Early Career Summer Workshop

August 12, 2024 - August 14, 2024
University of Minnesota

United States

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  • NSF


University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

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Statistics is extraordinarily important to the practice of the sciences, but remains relatively underexplored by philosophers. This event brings together early career researchers (including current graduate students) from philosophy and related disciplines who are interested in the philosophy of statistics for a pre-read workshop and discussion in Minneapolis. We hope that the workshop will not just involve presenting and sharing current ideas, but will foster future collaborations and form the foundations for a network and community of young scholars working in the area. We welcome abstracts for presentation that address questions such as:

  • In what sense can epistemological principles provide foundations for the varied practices of statistics?
  • How do specific statistical techniques such as bootstrapping, regularization, or principal component analysis contribute to knowledge in the sciences?
  • What is the social epistemology of statistics? How do social factors like plug-n-play R packages affect our understanding of the knowledge that we gain from statistics?
  • What special ethical problems arise in the practice of statistics, and how can these problems be addressed?
  • What, if any, are the important philosophical differences between statistics as traditionally conceived and “machine learning” or “data science”?

The workshop will take place at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Attendees will be expected to submit a completed paper by July 1 to be read by the other attendees, and each attendee will also serve as a commentator for one of the other accepted papers. Besides the workshop proper, our schedule builds in substantial time for informal discussions and an outdoor excursion in the Twin Cities. The organizers will cover expenses for food, accommodations, and travel within North America.

This event is funded by the NSF grant #2042366 (“A Modern Philosophy for Classical Statistical Testing and Estimation”).

How to apply

Please prepare the following:

  • A curriculum vitae.
  • A letter of reference of no more than 1 page addressing the candidate’s ability to participate in the event, how they would benefit from doing so, and what they bring to collegial philosophical discussions.
  • A personal statement of roughly 250 words describing how the event will contribute to your ongoing research, education, or career development.
  • An abstract of no more than 750 words excluding references.

Please email PDFs of your CV, personal statement, and abstract to dethi001[at] with the subject line “Phil Stats Summer Application” and arrange for your letter of reference to be sent to the same email address. Applications are due by March 31, full papers by July 1. We will respond with decisions as quickly as possible and no later than April 30.

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