Reichenbach's cubical universe and the problem of the external world

Synthese 181 (1):3 - 21 (2011)
This paper is a sympathetic critique of the argument that Reichenbach develops in Chap. 2 of Experience and Prediction for the thesis that sense experience justifies belief in the existence of an external world. After discussing his attack on the positivist theory of meaning, I describe the probability ideas that Reichenbach presents. I argue that Reichenbach begins with an argument grounded in the Law of Likelihood but that he then endorses a different argument that involves prior probabilities. I try to show how this second step in Reichenbach's approach can be strengthened by using ideas that have been developed recently for understanding causation in terms of the idea of intervention.
Keywords Common cause  Correlation  External world  Likelihood  Realism  Reichenbach  Solipsism
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DOI 10.2307/41477570
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