# Details of talk

Title | Set Theory for Factor Analysis: A Modest Proposal |
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Presenter | Trisha Nowland (Macquarie University) |

Author(s) | Trisha Nowland |

Session | Contributed Talks |

Time | 14:30:00 2017-09-26 |

Abstract | Developed at the turn of the 20th century, factor analysis is often cited as the most proliferate of psychometric techniques. Yet proof was never secured for the mathematical foundations of factor analysis by original inventor Charles Spearman. Factor analysis later was transformed into a statistical method drawing on Ronald Fisher's maximum likelihood estimation, yet similarly, although sought, mathematical proof for this technique was never found. In this talk we examine what this lack of mathematical proof means for factor analysis as a realist theory of measurement from a logical perspective, and we explore the work of mathematician Penelope Maddy to discern how we might rescue factor analysis by utilising a systematised axiomatic approach informed by the development of set theory. |