Inquiry and Evidence: From the Experimenter's Regress to Evidence-Based Policy

In the first part of this paper, I will sketch the main features of traditional models of evidence, indicating idealizations in such models that I regard as doing more harm than good. I will then proceed to elaborate on an alternative model of evidence that is functionalist, complex, dynamic, and contextual, which I will call DYNAMIC EVIDENTIAL FUNCTIONALISM. I will demonstrate its application to an illuminating example of scientific inquiry, and defend it from some likely objections. In the second part, I will use that alternative to solve a variety of classic and contemporary problems in the literature on scientific evidence having to do with the empirical basis of science and the use of evidence in public policy.
Keywords Evidence  Inquiry  Experimenter's Regress  Evidence-Based Policy  Pragmatism
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