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  1. Gregor Betz (2013). Justifying Inference to the Best Explanation as a Practical Meta-Syllogism on Dialectical Structures. Synthese 190 (16):3553-3578.
    This article discusses how inference to the best explanation (IBE) can be justified as a practical meta-argument. It is, firstly, justified as a practical argument insofar as accepting the best explanation as true can be shown to further a specific aim. And because this aim is a discursive one which proponents can rationally pursue in—and relative to—a complex controversy, namely maximising the robustness of one’s position, IBE can be conceived, secondly, as a meta-argument. My analysis thus bears a certain analogy (...)
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  2. Harmon R. Holcomb (1996). Just so Stories and Inference to the Best Explanation in Evolutionary Psychology. Minds and Machines 6 (4):525-540.
    Evolutionary psychology is a science in the making, working toward the goal of showing how psychological adaptation underlies much human behavior. The knee-jerk reaction that sociobiology is unscientific because it tells just-so stories has become a common charge against evolutionary psychology as well. My main positive thesis is that inference to the best explanation is a proper method for evolutionary analyses, and it supplies a new perspective on the issues raised in Schlinger's (1996) just-so story critique. My main negative thesis (...)
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  3. Valeriano Iranzo (2001). Bad Lots, Good Explanations (Malos lotes, buenas explicaciones). Crítica 33 (98):71 - 96.
    Van Fraassen's argument from the "bad lot" challenges realist interpretations of inference to the best explanation (IBE). In this paper I begin by discussing the replies suggested by S. Psillos and P. Lipton. I do not find them convincing. However, I think that van Fraassen's argument is flawed. First of all, it is a non sequitur. Secondly, I think that the real target for the scientific realist is the underlying assumption that epistemic justification results from a comparative assessment among rival (...)
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  4. Scott A. Kleiner (1983). A New Look at Kepler and Abductive Argument. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 14 (4):279-313.
  5. John-Michael Kuczynski (1999). Is Mind an Emergent Property? Cogito 13 (2):117-119.
    It is often said that (M) "mind is an emergent property of matter." M is ambiguous, the reason being that, for all x and y, "x is an emergent property of y" has two distinct and mutually opposed meanings, namely: (i) x is a product of y (in the sense in which a chair is the product of the activity of a furniture-maker); and (ii) y is either identical or constitutive of x, but, relative to the information available at a (...)
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  6. James Ladyman, Igor Douven, Leon Horsten & Bas van Fraassen (1997). A Defence of Van Fraassen's Critique of Abductive Inference: Reply to Psillos. Philosophical Quarterly 47 (188):305 - 321.
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  7. Adolfas Mackonis (2013). Inference to the Best Explanation, Coherence and Other Explanatory Virtues. Synthese 190 (6):975-995.
    This article generalizes the explanationist account of inference to the best explanation (IBE). It draws a clear distinction between IBE and abduction and presents abduction as the first step of IBE. The second step amounts to the evaluation of explanatory power, which consist in the degree of explanatory virtues that a hypothesis exhibits. Moreover, even though coherence is the most often cited explanatory virtue, on pain of circularity, it should not be treated as one of the explanatory virtues. Rather, coherence (...)
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  8. JohanArnt Myrstad (2004). The Use of Converse Abduction in Kepler. Foundations of Science 9 (3):321-338.
    This paper explains how Kepler in his ``War onMars'' applied systems of models organized bothin a perspectival and in a stratifiedconceptual sense. With the help of thesesystems Kepler worked out successively moredeterminate models for the planetary orbits.Along the way he discovered the Keplerian lawsas consequences of the distance rule, hisleading regulative principle. The selection ofdecisive, so called privileged, observations,as well as the determinate geometrical andkinematical description of the phenomena,result from the application of this principleto the developing of models. Kepler's method (...)
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  9. María G. Navarro (2010). Intelligent Environments and the Challenge of Inferential Processes. Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 72 (2):309-326.
  10. Ilkka Niiniluoto (2008). Unification and Abductive Confirmation. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 43:151-156.
    According to the traditional requirement, formulated already by William Whewell in his account of the “consilience of inductions” in 1840, an explanatory scientific theory should be independently testable by new kinds of phenomena. A good theory should have unifying power in the sense that it explains and predicts several mutually independent phenomena. This paper studies the prospects of Bayesianism to motivate this kind of unification criterion for abductive confirmation.
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  11. Ilkka Niiniluoto (2007). Abduction and Scientific Realism. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 12:137-142.
    Many scientific realists think that the best reasons for scientific theories are abductive, i.e., must appeal to what is also called inference to the best explanation (IBE), while some anti-realists have argued that the use of abduction in defending realism is question-begging, circular, or incoherent. This paper studies the idea that abductive inference can be reformulated by taking its conclusion to concern the truthlikeness of a hypothetical theory on the basis of its success in explanation and prediction. The strength of (...)
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  12. Woosuk Park (2012). Abduction and Estimation in Animals. Foundations of Science 17 (4):321-337.
    One of the most pressing issues in understanding abduction is whether it is an instinct or an inference. For many commentators find it paradoxical that new ideas are products of an instinct and products of an inference at the same time. Fortunately, Lorenzo Magnani’s recent discussion of animal abduction sheds light on both instinctual and inferential character of Peircean abduction. But, exactly for what reasons are Peirce and Magnani so convinced that animal abduction can provide us with a novel perspective? (...)
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  13. Herman Parret (ed.) (1994). . John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  14. P. Thagard & C. P. Shelley (1997). Abductive Reasoning: Logic, Visual Thinking, and Coherence. In [Book Chapter].
    This paper discusses abductive reasoning---that is, reasoning in which explanatory hypotheses are formed and evaluated. First, it criticizes two recent formal logical models of abduction. An adequate formalization would have to take into account the following aspects of abduction: explanation is not deduction; hypotheses are layered; abduction is sometimes creative; hypotheses may be revolutionary; completeness is elusive; simplicity is complex; and abductive reasoning may be visual and non-sentential. Second, in order to illustrate visual aspects of hypothesis formation, the paper describes (...)
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Inference to the Best Explanation, Misc
  1. Günter Abel (ed.) (2005). Kreativität. Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin.
  2. M. Abraham, Dov M. Gabbay & U. Schild (2009). Analysis of the Talmudic Argumentum a Fortiori Inference Rule (Kal Vachomer) Using Matrix Abduction. Studia Logica 92 (3):281 - 364.
    We motivate and introduce a new method of abduction, Matrix Abduction, and apply it to modelling the use of non-deductive inferences in the Talmud such as Analogy and the rule of Argumentum A Fortiori. Given a matrix with entries in {0, 1}, we allow for one or more blank squares in the matrix, say a i , j =?. The method allows us to decide whether to declare a i , j = 0 or a i , j = 1 (...)
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  3. David B. Annis (1982). Knowledge and Inference to the Best Explanation — a Reply. Philosophia 12 (1-2):77-79.
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  4. Stephen Biggs & Jessica M. Wilson, Abductive Two-Dimensionalism: A New Route to the A Priori Identification of Necessary Truths.
    Chalmers and Jackson (2001) offer an epistemic interpretation of the two-dimensional semantic framework advanced by Kaplan (1979, 1989), Stalnaker (1978), and others. Epistemic two-dimensional semantics (E2D) aims to re-forge the link between necessity and a priority seemingly broken by Kripke (1972/1980). On the E2D strategy, a priori knowledge of certain semantic intensions provides a route to a priori knowledge of a wide range of modal truths---nice outcome, if we can get it. E2D faces the serious challenge, however, that we typically (...)
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  5. Alexander Bird (2005). Abductive Knowledge and Holmesian Inference. In Tamar Szabo Gendler John Hawthorne (ed.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Oxford University Press. 1--31.
    The usual, comparative, conception of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) takes it to be ampliative. In this paper I propose a conception of IBE (‘Holmesian inference’) that takes it to be a species of eliminative induction and hence not ampliative. This avoids several problems for comparative IBE (e.g. how could it be reliable enough to generate knowledge?). My account of Holmesian inference raises the suspicion that it could never be applied, on the grounds that scientific hypotheses are inevitably underdetermined (...)
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  6. David Botting (2013). A Priori Abduction. Argumentation 27 (2):167-181.
    While “All events have a cause” is a synthetic statement making a factual claim about the world, “All effects have a cause” is analytic. When we take an event as an effect, no inference is required to deduce that it has a cause since this is what it means to be an effect. Some examples often given in the literature as examples of abduction work in the same way through semantic facts that follow from the way our beliefs represent those (...)
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  7. Jacob Busch (2012). Can the New Indispensability Argument Be Saved From Euclidean Rescues? Synthese 187 (2):489-508.
    The traditional formulation of the indispensability argument for the existence of mathematical entities (IA) has been criticised due to its reliance on confirmational holism. Recently a formulation of IA that works without appeal to confirmational holism has been defended. This recent formulation is meant to be superior to the traditional formulation in virtue of it not being subject to the kind of criticism that pertains to confirmational holism. I shall argue that a proponent of the version of IA that works (...)
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  8. Jacob Busch (2011). Is the Indispensability Argument Dispensable? Theoria 77 (2):139-158.
    When the indispensability argument for mathematical entities (IA) is spelled out, it would appear confirmational holism is needed for the argument to work. It has been argued that confirmational holism is a dispensable premise in the argument if a construal of naturalism, according to which it is denied that we can take different epistemic attitudes towards different parts of our scientific theories, is adopted. I argue that the suggested variety of naturalism will only appeal to a limited number of philosophers. (...)
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  9. Gustavo Cevolani (forthcoming). Truth Approximation Via Abductive Belief Change. Logic Journal of the IGPL.
    We investigate the logical and conceptual connections between abductive reasoning construed as a process of belief change, on the one hand, and truth approximation, construed as increasing (estimated) verisimilitude, on the other. We introduce the notion of ‘(verisimilitude-guided) abductive belief change’ and discuss under what conditions abductively changing our theories or beliefs does lead them closer to the truth, and hence tracks truth approximation conceived as the main aim of inquiry. The consequences of our analysis for some recent discussions concerning (...)
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  10. Gregory W. Dawes (2013). Belief is Not the Issue: A Defence of Inference to the Best Explanation. Ratio 26 (1):62-78.
    Defences of inference to the best explanation (IBE) frequently associate IBE with scientific realism, the idea that it is reasonable to believe our best scientific theories. I argue that this linkage is unfortunate. IBE does not warrant belief, since the fact that a theory is the best available explanation does not show it to be (even probably) true. What IBE does warrant is acceptance: taking a proposition as a premise in theoretical and/or practical reasoning. We ought to accept our best (...)
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  11. Xavier de Donato Rodríguez (2007). Idealization, Abduction, and Progressive Scientific Change. Theoria 22 (3):331-338.
    After a brief comparison of Aliseda’s account with different approaches to abductive reasoning, I relate abduction, as studied by Aliseda, to idealization, a notion which also occupies a very important role in scientific change, as well as to different ways of dealing with the growth of scientific knowledge understood as a particular kind of non-monotonic process. A particularly interesting kind of abductive reasoning could be that of finding an appropriate concretization case for a theory, originally revealed as extraordinarily success-ful but (...)
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  12. Heather Douglas (2014). The Value of Cognitive Values. Philosophy of Science 80 (5):796-806.
    Traditionally, cognitive values have been thought of as a collective pool of considerations in science that frequently trade against each other. I argue here that a finer-grained account of the value of cognitive values can help reduce such tensions. I separate the values into groups, minimal epistemic criteria, pragmatic considerations, and genuine epistemic assurance, based in part on the distinction between values that describe theories per se and values that describe theory-evidence relationships. This allows us to clarify why these values (...)
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  13. Heather Douglas (2012). Weighing Complex Evidence in a Democratic Society. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 22 (2):139-162.
    Weighing complex sets of evidence (i.e., from multiple disciplines and often divergent in implications) is increasingly central to properly informed decision-making. Determining “where the weight of evidence lies” is essential both for making maximal use of available evidence and figuring out what to make of such evidence. Weighing evidence in this sense requires an approach that can handle a wide range of evidential sources (completeness), that can combine the evidence with rigor, and that can do so in a way other (...)
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  14. Igor Douven (1999). Inference to the Best Explanation Made Coherent. Philosophy of Science 66 (Supplement):S424-S435.
    Van Fraassen (1989) argues that Inference to the Best Explanation is incoherent in the sense that adopting it as a rule for belief change will make one susceptible to a dynamic Dutch book. The present paper argues against this. A strategy is described that allows us to infer to the best explanation free of charge.
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  15. David L. Dowe, Steve Gardner & and Graham Oppy (2007). Bayes Not Bust! Why Simplicity Is No Problem for Bayesians. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (4):709 - 754.
    The advent of formal definitions of the simplicity of a theory has important implications for model selection. But what is the best way to define simplicity? Forster and Sober ([1994]) advocate the use of Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC), a non-Bayesian formalisation of the notion of simplicity. This forms an important part of their wider attack on Bayesianism in the philosophy of science. We defend a Bayesian alternative: the simplicity of a theory is to be characterised in terms of Wallace's Minimum (...)
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  16. Lefteris Farmakis & Stephan Hartmann (2005). Review of Inference to the Best Explanation by Peter Lipton. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (6).
  17. Yiftach J. H. Fehige (2005). Kreativität Im Denken. Eine Kritik des Reliabilitätsarguments von John D. Norton Gegen Rationalistische Epistemologien Zur Methode des Gedankenexperiments. In Günter Abel (ed.), Kreativität. Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin.
    In this paper I argue that Norton's case against Brown's rationalism about thought experiments suffers from serious shortcomings, which relate to the nature of induction.
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  18. Noemi de Haro García & María G. Navarro (2012). Conjectural Paradigm and Empathy as Embodied Mechanism. Purlieu. A Philosophical Journal 1 (4):83-96.
    In this paper art history and visual studies, the disciplines that study visual culture, are presented as a field whose conjectural paradigm can be used to understand the epistemic problems associated with abduction. In order to do so, significant statements, concepts and arguments from the work of several specialists in this field have been highlighted. Their analysis shows the fruitfulness and potential for understanding the study of visual culture as a field that is interwoven with the assumptions of abductive cognition.
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  19. Valeriano Iranzo (2008). Bayesianism and Inference to the Best Explanation. Theoria 23 (1):89-106.
    Bayesianism and Inference to the best explanation (IBE) are two different models of inference. Recently there has been some debate about the possibility of “bayesianizing” IBE. Firstly I explore several alternatives to include explanatory considerations in Bayes’s Theorem. Then I distinguish two different interpretationsof prior probabilities: “IBE-Bayesianism” (IBE-Bay) and “frequentist-Bayesianism” (Freq-Bay). After detailing the content of the latter, I propose a rule for assessing the priors. I also argue that Freq-Bay: (i) endorses a role for explanatory value in the assessment (...)
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  20. Valeriano Iranzo (2007). Abduction and Inference to the Best Explanation. Theoria 22 (3):339-346.
    Aliseda’s Abductive Reasoning is focused on the logical problem of abduction. My paper, in contrast, deals with the epistemic problems raised by this sort of inference. I analyze the relation between abduction and inference to the best explanation (IBE). Firstly a heuristic and a normative interpretation of IBE are distinguished. The epistemic problem is particularly pressing for the latter interpretation, since it is devoid of content without specific epistemic criteria for separating acceptable explanations from those which are not. Then I (...)
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  21. Joke Meheus & Dagmar Provijn (2007). Abduction Through Semantic Tableaux Versus Abduction Through Goal-Directed Proofs. Theoria 22 (3):295-304.
    In this paper, we present a goal-directed proof procedure for abductive reasoning. This procedure will be compared with Aliseda’s approach based on semantic tableaux. We begin with some comments on Aliseda’s algorithms for computing conjunctive abductions and show that they do not entirely live up to their aims. Next we give a concise account of goal-directed proofs and we show that abductive explanations are a natural spin-off of these proofs. Finally, we show that the goal-directed procedure solves the problems we (...)
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  22. María G. Navarro (2012). La interpretación como evento cognitivo expresado en razonamientos abductivos. Trans/Form/Ação 35 (3):231-252.
    The purpose of this paper is to argue that abductive reasoning is part of a cognitive process of interpreting something as being something. The paper holds two fundamental claims. First, it proposes a definition of interpretation as a type of cognitive event. Second, it is argued that in some cases the activity of interpreting is a process to search for plausible assumptions for consistent explanatory hypotheses formation. As a result of these two theses, it is concluded that logic of interpretation (...)
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  23. María G. Navarro (2011). Review of 'Reasoning. Studies of Human Inference and Its Foundations' by Jonathan E. Adler and Lance J. Rips. [REVIEW] Anuario Filosófico 44 (3):629-632.
    Reasoning es una obra monumental de más de mil páginas editada en estrecha colaboración por el filósofo Jonathan E. Adler y el psicólogo Lance J. Rips para esclarecer el intrincado campo de investigación relacionado con los fundamentos de la inferencia y, en general, del razonamiento humano. En la actualidad, en pocos casos va unido el trabajo de compilar y editar textos científicos con el afán enciclopédico: un proyecto editorial que sobrepasa con razón los objetivos de la mayor parte de los (...)
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  24. María G. Navarro (2010). El Final de Una Tensión Esencial: Hermenéutica Filosófica y Teorías de la Argumentación. Arbor. Ciencia, Pensamiento y Cultura 742:321-338.
    Las definiciones de argumentación son tan variadas como las distintas posiciones existentes en torno a la pregunta de qué hacemos exactamente cuando argumentamos y cuándo estamos, de hecho, argumentando. Incluso el mismo autor puede ofrecer más de una definición de lo que entiende por argumentación; en parte, porque el problema de la argumentación no se circunscribe a un solo ámbito, ni del conocimiento ni de la vida práctica.
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  25. María G. Navarro (2006). Analogía, Prudencia y Abducción En la Racionalidad Interpretativa. In Mauricio Beuchot (ed.), Contextos de la hermenéutica analógica. Editorial Torres Asociados.
  26. María G. Navarro & Noemi de Haro García (2012). Cognitive Abduction in the Study of Visual Culture. Philosophy and Cognitive Science. Western and Eastern Studies 2:205-220.
    In this paper art history and visual studies, the disciplines that study visual culture, are presented as a field whose conjectural paradigm can be used to understand the epistemic problems associated with abduction. In order to do so, significant statements, concepts and arguments from the work of several specialists in this field have been highlighted. Their analysis shows the fruitfulness and potential for understanding the study of visual culture as a field that is interwoven with the assumptions of abductive cognition.
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  27. Sami Paavola (2004). Abduction as a Logic and Methodology of Discovery: The Importance of Strategies. [REVIEW] Foundations of Science 9 (3):267-283.
    There are various ``classical'' arguments against abduction as a logic of discovery,especially that (1) abduction is too weak a mode of inference to be of any use, and (2) in basic formulation of abduction the hypothesisis already presupposed to be known, so it is not the way hypotheses are discovered in the first place. In this paper I argue, by bringing forth the idea of strategies,that these counter-arguments are weaker than may appear. The concept of strategies suggests, inter alia, that (...)
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  28. Johannes Persson & Petri Ylikoski (eds.) (2007). Rethinking Explanation. Springer.
    This book highlights some of the conceptual problems that still need to be solved and points out a number of fresh philosophical ideas to explore.
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  29. Steve Petersen, Naturalism is (Literally) Self-Explanatory.
    Methodological naturalism states (roughly speaking) that only science can be a route to knowledge. This purported piece of knowledge looks self-condemning, however; after all, it was formulated in the armchair, and not in the laboratory. I argue that on a popular (if largely unarticulated) construal of naturalism as inference to the best explanation, methodological naturalism escapes this charge of internal incoherence, and in fact is self-endorsing rather than self-condemning.
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  30. Steve Petersen, Simplicity Tracks Truth Because Compression Tracks Probability.
    The simplicity of a theory seems closely related to how well the theory summarizes individual data points. Think, for example, of classic curve-fitting. It is easy to get perfect data-fit with a ‘‘theory’’ that simply lists each point of data, but such a theory is maximally unsimple (for the data-fit). The simple theory suggests instead that there is one underlying curve that summarizes this data, and we usually prefer such a theory even at some expense in data-fit. In general, it (...)
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  31. Xavier Donato Rodríguedez (2007). Idealization, Abduction, and Progressive Scientific Change. Theoria 22 (3):331-338.
    After a brief comparison of Aliseda’s account with different approaches to abductive reasoning, I relate abduction, as studied by Aliseda, to idealization, a notion which also occupies a very important role in scientific change, as well as to different ways of dealing with the growth of scientific knowledge understood as a particular kind of non-monotonic process. A particularly interesting kind of abductive reasoning could be that of finding an appropriate concretization case for a theory, originally revealed as extraordinarily success-ful but (...)
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  32. Peter W. Ross & Dale Turner (forthcoming). Problems of Existence in Philosophy and Science. Synthese.
    We initially characterize what we’ll call existence problems as problems where there is evidence that a putative entity exists and this evidence is not easily dismissed; however, the evidence is not adequate to justify the claim that the entity exists, and in particular the entity hasn’t been detected. The putative entity is elusive. We then offer a strategy for determining whether an existence problem is philosophical or scientific. According to this strategy (1) existence problems are characterized in terms of causal (...)
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  33. Jonah N. Schupbach (2013). Is the Bad Lot Objection Just Misguided? Erkenntnis (1):1-10.
    In this paper, I argue that van Fraassen’s “bad lot objection” against Inference to the Best Explanation [IBE] severely misses its mark. First, I show that the objection holds no special relevance to IBE; if the bad lot objection poses a serious problem for IBE, then it poses a serious problem for any inference form whatever. Second, I argue that, thankfully, it does not pose a serious threat to any inference form. Rather, the objection misguidedly blames a form of inference (...)
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  34. Jonah N. Schupbach (2011). Studies in the Logic of Explanatory Power. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    Human reasoning often involves explanation. In everyday affairs, people reason to hypotheses based on the explanatory power these hypotheses afford; I might, for example, surmise that my toddler has been playing in my office because I judge that this hypothesis delivers a good explanation of the disarranged state of the books on my shelves. But such explanatory reasoning also has relevance far beyond the commonplace. Indeed, explanatory reasoning plays an important role in such varied fields as the sciences, philosophy, theology, (...)
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  35. Jonah N. Schupbach (2005). Paley's Inductive Inference to Design. Philosophia Christi 7 (2):491-502.
    In a recent article, Graham Oppy offers a lucid and intriguing examination of William Paley's design argument. Oppy sets two goals for his article. First, he sets out to challenge the "almost universal assumption" that Paley's argument is inductive by revealing it actually to be a deductive argument. Second, he attempts to expose Paley's argument as manifestly poor when interpreted in this way. I will argue that Oppy is unsuccessful in accomplishing his first goal, leaving his second goal quite irrelevant. (...)
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  36. Jonah N. Schupbach & Jan Sprenger (2011). The Logic of Explanatory Power. Philosophy of Science 78 (1):105-127.
    This article introduces and defends a probabilistic measure of the explanatory power that a particular explanans has over its explanandum. To this end, we propose several intuitive, formal conditions of adequacy for an account of explanatory power. Then, we show that these conditions are uniquely satisfied by one particular probabilistic function. We proceed to strengthen the case for this measure of explanatory power by proving several theorems, all of which show that this measure neatly corresponds to our explanatory intuitions. Finally, (...)
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