Confirmation and reduction: a Bayesian account

Synthese 179 (2):321 - 338 (2011)
Various scientific theories stand in a reductive relation to each other. In a recent article, we have argued that a generalized version of the Nagel-Schaffner model (GNS) is the right account of this relation. In this article, we present a Bayesian analysis of how GNS impacts on confirmation. We formalize the relation between the reducing and the reduced theory before and after the reduction using Bayesian networks, and thereby show that, post-reduction, the two theories are confirmatory of each other. We then ask when a purported reduction should be accepted on epistemic grounds. To do so, we compare the prior and posterior probabilities of the conjunction of both theories before and after the reduction and ask how well each is confirmed by the available evidence.
Keywords Nagelian reduction  Bayesian epistemology  Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics  Bayesian network models
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/41477422
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,865
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour & Richard Scheines (1996). Causation, Prediction, and Search. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):113-123.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

45 ( #74,232 of 1,724,892 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

14 ( #50,601 of 1,724,892 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.