Model-Independence vs. Robustness

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Hudson, Robert
conference paper description
My goal in this paper is to consider two separate but connected topics, one historical, the other philosophical. The first topic concerns the forms of reasoning contemporary experimental astrophysicists use to investigate the existence of WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles). These forms of reasoning take two forms, one model-dependent and the other model-independent, and we examine the arguments one WIMP research group (DAMA) uses to support the latter. The second topic concerns recent support Kent Staley has offered for a form of scientific reasoning called ‘robustness’, and I argue that the model-independent strategy propounded by DAMA improves on robustness.