The instrumentalist abduction task and the nature of empirical counterexamples: Reply to Atocha Aliseda
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 83 (1):190-192 (2005)
This paper primarily deals with the conceptual prospects for generalizing the aim of abduction from the standard one of explaining surprising or anomalous observations to that of empirical progress or even truth approximation. It turns out that the main abduction task then becomes the instrumentalist task of theory revision aiming at an empirically more successful theory, relative to the available data, but not necessarily compatible with them. The rest, that is, genuine empirical progress as well as observational, referential and theoretical truth approximation, is a matter of evaluation and selection, and possibly new generation tasks for further improvement. The paper concludes with a survey of possible points of departure, in AI and logic, for computational treatment of the instrumentalist task guided by the ‘comparative evaluation matrix’.
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