Journal for General Philosophy of Science 35 (2):313 - 329 (2004)
|Abstract||The Raven and the Bayesian. As an essential benefit of their probabilistic account of confirmation, Bayesians state that it provides a twofold solution to the ravens paradox. It is supposed to show that (i) the paradox’s conclusion is tenable because a white shoe only negligibly confirms the hypothesis that all ravens are black, and (ii) the paradox’s first premise is false anyway because a black raven can speak against the hypothesis. I argue that both proposals are not only unable to solve the paradox, but also point to severe difficulties with Bayesianism. The former does not make the conclusion acceptable, and it entails the bizarre consequence that a great amount of non-black non-ravens substantially confirms the ravens hypothesis. The latter does not go far enough because there is a variant of the first premise which follows from Bayesianism and implies a weaker, but nevertheless untenable, variant of the conclusion.|
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