Inference to the best explanation, coherence and other explanatory virtues

Synthese 190 (6):975-995 (2013)
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 should be equated with explanatory power and considered to be derivable from the other explanatory virtues: unification, explanatory depth and simplicity.
Keywords Inference to the best explanation  Abduction  Explanatory virtues  Coherence  Unification  Explanatory depth  Simplicity
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-011-0054-y
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