Effects and Artifacts: Robustness Analysis and the Production Process

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Keyser, Vadim
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conference paper description
Scientists often use multiple independent methods of identification to distinguish reliable results from those produced in error (artifacts). This process is referred to as ‘robustness analysis’. I argue that even though robustness analysis is useful for differentiating natural phenomena from artifacts, it fails to differentiate experimentally produced effects from artifacts. I argue that to bypass this problem, we can re-frame the role of robustness analysis to focus on cross-comparison between methods of production. Focusing on the production relation provides information about how changes in conditions alter given effects, without first having to make a distinction between effect and artifact.