Inference, practice and theory

Synthese 34 (1):89 - 132 (1977)
Reichenbach held that all scientific inference reduces, via probability calculus, to induction, and he held that induction can be justified. He sees scientific knowledge in a practical context and insists that any rational assessment of actions requires a justification of induction. Gaps remain in his justifying argument; for we can not hope to prove that induction will succeed if success is possible. However, there are good prospects for completing a justification of essentially the kind he sought by showing that while induction may succeed, no alternative is a rational way of trying.Reichenbach's claim that probability calculus, especially via Bayes' Theorem, can help to exhibit the structure of inference to theories is a valuable insight. However, his thesis that the weighting of all hypotheses rests only on frequency data is too restrictive, especially given his scientific realism. Other empirical factors are relevant. Any satisfactory account of scientific inference must be deeply indebted to Reichenbach's foundation work.
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DOI 10.1007/BF00485637
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References found in this work BETA
Max Black (1962). Models and Metaphors. Ithaca, N.Y.,Cornell University Press.
Wesley C. Salmon (1967). The Foundations of Scientific Inference. [Pittsburgh]University of Pittsburgh Press.
Hans Reichenbach (1949). The Theory of Probability. Berkeley, University of California Press.
Rudolf Carnap (1952). The Continuum of Inductive Methods. [Chicago]University of Chicago Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
F. John Clendinnen (1983). The Rationality of Method Verssus Historical Relativism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 14 (1):23-38.

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