We investigate the logical and conceptual connections between abductive reasoning construed as a process of belief change, on the one hand, and truth approximation, construed as increasing (estimated) verisimilitude, on the other. We introduce the notion of â(verisimilitude-guided) abductive belief changeâ and discuss under what conditions abductively changing our theories or beliefs does lead them closer to the truth, and hence tracks truth approximation conceived as the main aim of inquiry. The consequences of our analysis for some recent discussions concerning (...) belief revision aiming at truth approximation and inference to the best explanation are also highlighted. (shrink)
In this paper, we address the problem of truth approximation through theory change, asking whether revising our theories by newly acquired data leads us closer to the truth about a given domain. More particularly, we focus on “nomic conjunctive theories”, i.e., theories expressed as conjunctions of logically independent statements concerning the physical or, more generally, nomic possibilities and impossibilities of the domain under inquiry. We define both a comparative and a quantitative notion of the verisimilitude of such theories, and identify (...) suitable conditions concerning the (partial) correctness of acquired data, under which revising our theories by data leads us closer to “the nomic truth”, construed as the target of scientific inquiry. We conclude by indicating some further developments, generalizations, and open issues arising from our results. (shrink)
In this paper we provide a compact presentation of the verisimilitudinarian approach to scientific progress (VS, for short) and defend it against the sustained attack recently mounted by Alexander Bird (2007). Advocated by such authors as Ilkka Niiniluoto and Theo Kuipers, VS is the view that progress can be explained in terms of the increasing verisimilitude (or, equivalently, truthlikeness, or approximation to the truth) of scientific theories. According to Bird, VS overlooks the central issue of the appropriate grounding of scientific (...) beliefs in the evidence, and it is therefore unable (a) to reconstruct in a satisfactory way some hypothetical cases of scientific progress, and (b) to provide an explanation of the aversion to falsity that characterizes scientific practice. We rebut both of these criticisms and argue that they reveal a misunderstanding of some key concepts underlying VS. (shrink)
The Linda paradox is a key topic in current debates on the rationality of human reasoning and its limitations. We present a novel analysis of this paradox, based on the notion of verisimilitude as studied in the philosophy of science. The comparison with an alternative analysis based on probabilistic confirmation suggests how to overcome some problems of our account by introducing an adequately defined notion of verisimilitudinarian confirmation.
This is the introductory essay to the Italian translation of Matt Ridley's "The origins of virtue", surveying the game-theoretic and evolutionary approaches to the emergence and evolution of cooperation and altruism.
Focusing on the work of Friedrich von Hayek and Vernon Smith, we discuss some conceptual links between Austrian economics and recent work in behavioral game theory and experimental economics. After a brief survey of the main methodological aspects of Austrian and experimental economics, we suggest that common views on subjectivism, individualism, and the role of qualitative explanations and predictions in social science may favour a fruitful interaction between these two research programs.
In The Philosophy of Information, Luciano Floridi presents a theory of “strongly semantic information”, based on the idea that “information encapsulates truth” (the so-called “veridicality thesis”). Starting with Popper, philosophers of science have developed different explications of the notion of verisimilitude or truthlikeness, construed as a combination of truth and information. Thus, the theory of strongly semantic information and the theory of verisimilitude are intimately tied. Yet, with few exceptions, this link has virtually pass unnoticed. In this paper, we briefly (...) survey both theories and offer a critical comparison of strongly semantic information and related notions, like truth, verisimilitude, and partial truth. (shrink)
Theory change is a central concern in contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science. In this paper, we investigate the relationships between two ongoing research programs providing formal treatments of theory change: the (post-Popperian) approach to verisimilitude and the AGM theory of belief change. We show that appropriately construed accounts emerging from those two lines of epistemological research do yield convergences relative to a specified kind of theories, here labeled “conjunctive”. In this domain, a set of plausible conditions are identified which (...) demonstrably capture the verisimilitudinarian effectiveness of AGM belief change, i.e., its effectiveness in tracking truth approximation. We conclude by indicating some further developments and open issues arising from our results. (shrink)
Starting from the sixties of the past century theory change has become a main concern of philosophy of science. Two of the best known formal accounts of theory change are the post-Popperian theories of verisimilitude (PPV for short) and the AGM theory of belief change (AGM for short). In this paper, we will investigate the conceptual relations between PPV and AGM and, in particular, we will ask whether the AGM rules for theory change are effective means for approaching the truth, (...) i.e., for achieving the cognitive aim of science pointed out by PPV. First, the key ideas of PPV and AGM and their application to a particular kind of propositional theories - the so called "conjunctive propositions" - will be illustrated. Afterwards, we will prove that, as far as conjunctive propositions are concerned, AGM belief change is an effective tool for approaching the truth. (shrink)
We provide a 'verisimilitudinarian' analysis of the well-known Linda paradox or conjunction fallacy, i.e., the fact that most people judge the probability of the conjunctive statement "Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement" (B & F) as more probable than the isolated statement "Linda is a bank teller" (B), contrary to an uncontroversial principle of probability theory. The basic idea is that experimental participants may judge B & F a better hypothesis about Linda as compared (...) to B because they evaluate B & F as more verisimilar than B. In fact, the hypothesis "feminist bank teller", while less likely to be true than "bank teller", may well be a better approximation to the truth about Linda. (shrink)