Experimental Localism and External Validity

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Guala, Francesco
preprint description
Experimental localism stresses the importance of context-specific knowledge, and the limitations of universal theories in science. I illustrate Latour's radical approach to localism and show that it has some unpalatable consequences, in particular the suggestion that problems of external validity (or how to generalise experimental results to non-laboratory circumstances) cannot be solved. In the last part of the paper I try to sketch a solution to the problem of external validity by extending Mayo's error-probabilistic approach.