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  1. Unobservability of Short-Lived Particles: Ground for Skepticism About Observational Claims in Elementary Particle Physics.Marcoen J. T. F. Cabbolet - manuscript
    The physics literature contains many claims that elementary particles have been observed: such observational claims are, of course, important for the development of existential knowledge. Regarding claimed observations of short-lived unstable particles in particular, the use of the word 'observation' is based on the convention in physics that the observation of a short-lived unstable particle can be claimed when its predicted decay products have been observed with a significance of 5 sigma. This paper, however, shows that this 5 sigma convention (...)
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  2. Appearance and Explanation: Phenomenal Explanationism in Epistemology (OUP, Under Contract).Kevin McCain & Luca Moretti - manuscript
    Phenomenal Conservatism (PC) is a promising, and popular, internalist theory of epistemic justification. Despite its popularity it faces numerous objections and challenges. In Seemings and Epistemic Justification (Springer, 2020), Moretti suggests that integrating PC with a theory of reflective/inferential justification would have the potential to shield PC from various challenges. Moretti also suggests that this sort of integration is worth exploring because it may allow PC to provide a more forceful response to skepticism and better account for ordinary cognitive practices. (...)
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  3. On the Pragmatic and Epistemic Virtues of Inference to the Best Explanation.Richard Pettigrew - manuscript
    In a series of papers over the past twenty years, and in a new book, Igor Douven has argued that Bayesians are too quick to reject versions of inference to the best explanation or abduction that cannot be accommodated within their framework. In this paper, I survey Douven’s worries and bring to bear a series of pragmatic and purely epistemic arguments to show that Bayes’ Rule really is the only correct way to respond to your evidence.
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  4. Inference to the Best Explanation and Empirically Equivalent Theories.Richard Bohms - unknown - Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 20.
  5. Explanatory Consolidation: From 'Best' to 'Good Enough'.Finnur Dellsén - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    In science and everyday life, we often infer that something is true because it would explain some set of facts better than any other hypothesis we can think of. But what if we have reason to believe that there is a better way to explain these facts that we just haven't thought of? Wouldn't that undermine our warrant for believing the best available explanation? Many philosophers have assumed that we can solve such underconsideration problems by stipulating that a hypothesis should (...)
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  6. The Costs of HARKing.Mark Rubin - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:000-000.
    Kerr coined the term ‘HARKing’ to refer to the practice of ‘hypothesizing after the results are known’. This questionable research practice has received increased attention in recent years because it is thought to have contributed to low replication rates in science. The present article discusses the concept of HARKing from a philosophical standpoint and then undertakes a critical review of Kerr’s twelve potential costs of HARKing. It is argued that these potential costs are either misconceived, misattributed to HARKing, lacking evidence, (...)
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  7. Mathematics and Explanatory Generality: Nothing but Cognitive Salience.Juha Saatsi & Robert Knowles - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    We demonstrate how real progress can be made in the debate surrounding the enhanced indispensability argument. Drawing on a counterfactual theory of explanation, well-motivated independently of the debate, we provide a novel analysis of ‘explanatory generality’ and how mathematics is involved in its procurement. On our analysis, mathematics’ sole explanatory contribution to the procurement of explanatory generality is to make counterfactual information about physical dependencies easier to grasp and reason with for creatures like us. This gives precise content to key (...)
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  8. On the Argument From Double Spaces: A Reply to Moti Mizrahi.Seungbae Park - 2021 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 10 (2):1-6.
    Van Fraassen infers the truth of the contextual theory from his observation that it has passed a crucial test. Mizrahi infers the comparative truth of our best theories from his observation that they are more successful than their competitors. Their inferences require, according to the argument from double spaces, the prior belief that it is more likely that their target theories were pulled out from the T-space than from the O-space. The T-space is the logical space of unconceived theories whose (...)
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  9. Should Explanations Omit the Details?Darren Bradley - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (3):827-853.
    There is a widely shared belief that the higher-level sciences can provide better explanations than lower-level sciences. But there is little agreement about exactly why this is so. It is often suggested that higher-level explanations are better because they omit details. I will argue instead that the preference for higher-level explanations is just a special case of our general preference for informative, logically strong, beliefs. I argue that our preference for informative beliefs entirely accounts for why higher-level explanations are sometimes (...)
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  10. The Structure of Epistemic Probabilities.Nevin Climenhaga - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3213-3242.
    The epistemic probability of A given B is the degree to which B evidentially supports A, or makes A plausible. This paper is a first step in answering the question of what determines the values of epistemic probabilities. I break this question into two parts: the structural question and the substantive question. Just as an object’s weight is determined by its mass and gravitational acceleration, some probabilities are determined by other, more basic ones. The structural question asks what probabilities are (...)
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  11. What Inference to the Best Explanation Is Not: A Response to Roche and Sober's Screening-Off Challenge to IBE.Marc Lange - 2020 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 39:27-42.
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  12. Inference to the Best Explanation: The Case of Potential Energy.Peter J. Riggs - 2020 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 16 (1):99-116.
    It has been claimed that kinetic energy is an objective physical quantity whilst at the same time maintaining that potential energy is not. However, by making use of the method of ‘inference to the best explanation’, it may be readily concluded that potential energy is indeed an objective physical quantity. This is done for an example drawn from the foundations of modern chemistry. In order to do so, the criteria of what counts as ‘most probable’ and ‘most reasonable’ are defined (...)
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  13. Unification and the Myth of Purely Reductive Understanding.Michael J. Shaffer - 2020 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 27:142-168.
    In this paper significant challenges are raised with respect to the view that explanation essentially involves unification. These objections are raised specifically with respect to the well-known versions of unificationism developed and defended by Michael Friedman and Philip Kitcher. The objections involve the explanatory regress argument and the concepts of reduction and scientific understanding. Essentially, the contention made here is that these versions of unificationism wrongly assume that reduction secures understanding.
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  14. Abductive Two-Dimensionalism: A New Route to the a Priori Identification of Necessary Truths.Biggs Stephen & Wilson Jessica - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):59-93.
    Epistemic two-dimensional semantics, advocated by Chalmers and Jackson, among others, aims to restore the link between necessity and a priority seemingly broken by Kripke, by showing how armchair access to semantic intensions provides a basis for knowledge of necessary a posteriori truths. The most compelling objections to E2D are that, for one or other reason, the requisite intensions are not accessible from the armchair. As we substantiate here, existing versions of E2D are indeed subject to such access-based objections. But, we (...)
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  15. The Material Theory of Induction and the Epistemology of Thought Experiments.Michael T. Stuart - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 83:17-27.
    John D. Norton is responsible for a number of influential views in contemporary philosophy of science. This paper will discuss two of them. The material theory of induction claims that inductive arguments are ultimately justified by their material features, not their formal features. Thus, while a deductive argument can be valid irrespective of the content of the propositions that make up the argument, an inductive argument about, say, apples, will be justified (or not) depending on facts about apples. The argument (...)
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  16. Abduction Versus Conceiving in Modal Epistemology.Stephen Biggs & Jessica Wilson - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):2045-2076.
    How should modal reasoning proceed? Here we compare abduction-based and conceiving-based modal epistemologies, and argue that an abduction-based approach is preferable, and by a wide margin.
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  17. Beyond Falsifiability: Normal Science in a Multiverse.Sean M. Carroll - 2019 - In Richard Dawid, Radin Dardashti & Karim Thebault (eds.), Epistemology of Fundamental Physics: Why Trust a Theory? Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    Cosmological models that invoke a multiverse - a collection of unobservable regions of space where conditions are very different from the region around us - are controversial, on the grounds that unobservable phenomena shouldn't play a crucial role in legitimate scientific theories. I argue that the way we evaluate multiverse models is precisely the same as the way we evaluate any other models, on the basis of abduction, Bayesian inference, and empirical success. There is no scientifically respectable way to do (...)
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  18. Van Fraassen, a inferência da melhor explicação e a Matrix realista.Alessio Gava - 2019 - Problemata 10 (1):267-283.
    In a recent work published in this journal, “Van Fraassen e a inferência da melhor explicação” (2016), Minikoski and Rodrigues da Silva identify four critical lines proposed by Bas van Fraassen against the form of abductive reasoning known as ‘inference to the best explanation’ (IBE). The first one, put forward by the Dutch philosopher in his seminal book The Scientific Image (1980), concerns the distinction between observable and unobservable entities. Minikoski and Rodrigues da Silva consider that the distinction is of (...)
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  19. Rationality as the Capacity for Understanding1.Karl Schafer - 2019 - Noûs 53 (3):639-663.
    In this essay, I develop and defend a virtue-theoretic conception of rationality as a capacity whose function is understanding, as opposed to mere truth or correctness. I focus on two main potential advantages of this view. First, its ability to explain the rationality of forms of explanatory reasoning, and second, its ability to offer a more unified account of theoretical and practical rationality.
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  20. Conjunctive Explanations and Inference to the Best Explanation.Jonah Schupbach - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 38 (3):143-162.
    Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) advises reasoners to infer exactly one explanation. This uniqueness claim apparently binds us when it comes to “conjunctive explanations,” distinct explanations that are nonetheless explanatorily better together than apart. To confront this worry, explanationists qualify their statement of IBE, stipulating that this inference form only adjudicates between competing hypotheses. However, a closer look into the nature of competition reveals problems for this qualified account. Given the most common explication of competition, this qualification artificially and (...)
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  21. The Availability Heuristic and Inference to the Best Explanation.Michael J. Shaffer - 2019 - Logos and Episteme 10 (4):409-432.
    This paper shows how the availability heuristic can be used to justify inference to the best explanation in such a way that van Fraassen's infamous "best of a bad lot" objection can be adroitly avoided. With this end in mind, a dynamic and contextual version of the erotetic model of explanation sufficient to ground this response is presented and defended.
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  22. Inference to the Best Explanation in Uncertain Evidential Situations.Borut Trpin & Max Pellert - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):977-1001.
    It has recently been argued that a non-Bayesian probabilistic version of inference to the best explanation (IBE*) has a number of advantages over Bayesian conditionalization (Douven [2013]; Douven and Wenmackers [2017]). We investigate how IBE* could be generalized to uncertain evidential situations and formulate a novel updating rule IBE**. We then inspect how it performs in comparison to its Bayesian counterpart, Jeffrey conditionalization (JC), in a number of simulations where two agents, each updating by IBE** and JC, respectively, try to (...)
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  23. Bayesianism and Explanatory Unification: A Compatibilist Account.Thomas Blanchard - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (4):682-703.
    Proponents of IBE claim that the ability of a hypothesis to explain a range of phenomena in a unifying way contributes to the hypothesis’s credibility in light of these phenomena. I propose a Bayesian justification of this claim that reveals a hitherto unnoticed role for explanatory unification in evaluating the plausibility of a hypothesis: considerations of explanatory unification enter into the determination of a hypothesis’s prior by affecting its ‘explanatory coherence’, that is, the extent to which the hypothesis offers mutually (...)
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  24. Mystery and the Evidential Impact of Unexplainables.Matteo Colombo & Dominik Klein - 2018 - Episteme 15 (4):463-475.
    How should the information that a proposition p is a mystery impact your credence in p? To answer this question, we first provide a taxonomy of mysteries; then, we develop a test to distinguish two types of mysteries. When faced with mysteries of the first type, rational epistemic agents should lower their credence in p upon learning that p is a mystery. The same information should not impact agents’ credence in p, when they face mysteries of the second type. Our (...)
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  25. Kevin McCain and Ted Poston (Eds.), Best Explanations: New Essays on Inference to the Best Explanation. [REVIEW]Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:N/A.
  26. Expertise and Conspiracy Theories.M. R. X. Dentith - 2018 - Social Epistemology 32 (3):196-208.
    Judging the warrant of conspiracy theories can be difficult, and often we rely upon what the experts tell us when it comes to assessing whether particular conspiracy theories ought to be believed. However, whereas there are recognised experts in the sciences, I argue that only are is no such associated expertise when it comes to the things we call `conspiracy theories,' but that the conspiracy theorist has good reason to be suspicious of the role of expert endorsements when it comes (...)
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  27. Critical Epistemology for Analysis of Competing Hypotheses.Nicholaos Jones - 2018 - Intelligence and National Security 33 (2):273-289.
    Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) promises a relatively objective and tractable methodology for ranking the plausibility of competing hypotheses. Unlike Bayesianism, it is computationally modest. Unlike explanationism, it appeals to minimally subjective judgments about relations between hypotheses and evidence. Yet the canonical procedures for ACH allow a certain kind of instability in applications of the methodology, by virtue of supporting competing rankings despite common evidential bases and diagnosticity assessments. This instability should motivate advocates of ACH to focus their efforts toward (...)
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  28. Inference to the More Robust Explanation.Nicholaos Jones - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):75-102.
    ABSTRACT There is a new argument form within theoretical biology. This form takes as input competing explanatory models; it yields as output the conclusion that one of these models is more plausible than the others. The driving force for this argument form is an analysis showing that one model exhibits more parametric robustness than its competitors. This article examines these inferences to the more robust explanation, analysing them as variants of inference to the best explanation. The article defines parametric robustness (...)
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  29. The Epistemic Importance of Establishing the Absence of an Effect.Ari Kruger, Fiona Fidler, Felix Singleton Thorn, Ashley Barnett & Steven Kambouris - 2018 - Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science 1 (2):237-244.
  30. Explanationist Aid for Phenomenal Conservatism.Kevin McCain - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3035-3050.
    Phenomenal conservatism is a popular theory of epistemic justification. Despite its popularity and the fact that some think that phenomenal conservatism can provide a complete account of justification, it faces several challenges. Among these challenges are the need to provide accounts of defeaters and inferential justification. Fortunately, there is hope for phenomenal conservatism. Explanationism, the view on which justification is a matter of explanatory considerations, can help phenomenal conservatism with both of these challenges. The resulting view is one that respects (...)
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  31. Explanatory Virtues Are Indicative of Truth.Kevin McCain - 2018 - Logos and Episteme 9 (1):63-73.
    In a recent issue of this journal, Miloud Belkoniene challenges explanationist accounts of evidential support in two ways. First, he alleges that there are cases that show explanatory virtues are not linked to the truth of hypotheses. Second, he maintains that attempts to show that explanatoriness is relevant to evidential support because it adds to the resiliency of probability functions fail. I contest both of Belkoniene’s claims.
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  32. Why Scientific Knowledge Is Still the Best.Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 7 (9):18-32.
    In his latest attack, even though he claims to be a practitioner of “close reading” (Wills 2018b, 34), it appears that Wills still has not bothered to read the paper in which I defend the thesis he seeks to attack (Mizrahi 2017a), or any of the papers in my exchange with Brown (Mizrahi 2017b; 2018a), as evidenced by the fact that he does not cite them at all. This explains why Wills completely misunderstands Weak Scientism and the arguments for the (...)
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  33. More in Defense of Weak Scientism.Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 7 (4):7-25.
    In my (2017a), I defend a view I call Weak Scientism, which is the view that knowledge produced by scientific disciplines is better than knowledge produced by non-scientific disciplines. Scientific knowledge can be said to be quantitatively better than non-scientific knowledge insofar as scientific disciplines produce more impactful knowledge–in the form of scholarly publications–than non-scientific disciplines (as measured by research output and research impact). Scientific knowledge can be said to be qualitatively better than non-scientific knowledge insofar as such knowledge is (...)
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  34. Weak Scientism Defended Once More: A Reply to Wills.Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 7 (6):41-50.
    Bernard Wills (2018) joins Christopher Brown (2017, 2018) in criticizing my defense of Weak Scientism (Mizrahi 2017a, 2017b, 2018a). Unfortunately, it seems that Wills did not read my latest defense of Weak Scientism carefully, nor does he cite any of the other papers in my exchange with Brown.
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  35. Truth-Seeking by Abduction.Ilkka Niiniluoto - 2018 - Springer.
  36. Системный подход, экзистенциальная депрессия и структурированная галлюцинация – есть ли связь?Vitalii Shymko - 2018 - Pro|Stranstvo.
    Публикация (#2) из научно-популярного цикла: "Структурная онтология познания с доктором Шимко".
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  37. Experiment in Biology (2018 Update).Marcel Weber - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  38. Cladistic Parsimony, Historical Linguistics and Cultural Phylogenetics.Frank Cabrera - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (1):65-100.
    Here, I consider the recent application of phylogenetic methods in historical linguistics. After a preliminary survey of one such method, i.e. cladistic parsimony, I respond to two common criticisms of cultural phylogenies: that cultural artifacts cannot be modeled as tree-like because of borrowing across lineages, and that the mechanism of cultural change differs radically from that of biological evolution. I argue that while perhaps remains true for certain cultural artifacts, the nature of language may be such as to side-step this (...)
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  39. Can There Be a Bayesian Explanationism? On the Prospects of a Productive Partnership.Frank Cabrera - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4):1245–1272.
    In this paper, I consider the relationship between Inference to the Best Explanation and Bayesianism, both of which are well-known accounts of the nature of scientific inference. In Sect. 2, I give a brief overview of Bayesianism and IBE. In Sect. 3, I argue that IBE in its most prominently defended forms is difficult to reconcile with Bayesianism because not all of the items that feature on popular lists of “explanatory virtues”—by means of which IBE ranks competing explanations—have confirmational import. (...)
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  40. How Explanation Guides Confirmation.Nevin Climenhaga - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):359-68.
    Where E is the proposition that [If H and O were true, H would explain O], William Roche and Elliot Sober have argued that P(H|O&E) = P(H|O). In this paper I argue that not only is this equality not generally true, it is false in the very kinds of cases that Roche and Sober focus on, involving frequency data. In fact, in such cases O raises the probability of H only given that there is an explanatory connection between them.
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  41. Inference to the Best Explanation Made Incoherent.Nevin Climenhaga - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (5):251-273.
    Defenders of Inference to the Best Explanation claim that explanatory factors should play an important role in empirical inference. They disagree, however, about how exactly to formulate this role. In particular, they disagree about whether to formulate IBE as an inference rule for full beliefs or for degrees of belief, as well as how a rule for degrees of belief should relate to Bayesianism. In this essay I advance a new argument against non-Bayesian versions of IBE. My argument focuses on (...)
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  42. Reactionary Responses to the Bad Lot Objection.Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 61:32-40.
    As it is standardly conceived, Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) is a form of ampliative inference in which one infers a hypothesis because it provides a better potential explanation of one’s evidence than any other available, competing explanatory hypothesis. Bas van Fraassen famously objected to IBE thus formulated that we may have no reason to think that any of the available, competing explanatory hypotheses are true. While revisionary responses to the Bad Lot Objection concede that IBE needs to be (...)
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  43. Ted Poston, Reason and Explanation: A Defense of Explanatory Coherentism. [REVIEW]Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Dialectica 71 (1):117-124.
  44. Abductively Robust Inference.Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Analysis 77 (1):20-29.
    Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) is widely criticized for being an unreliable form of ampliative inference – partly because the explanatory hypotheses we have considered at a given time may all be false, and partly because there is an asymmetry between the comparative judgment on which an IBE is based and the absolute verdict that IBE is meant to license. In this paper, I present a further reason to doubt the epistemic merits of IBE and argue that it motivates (...)
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  45. Inference to the Best Explanation: Fundamentalism's Failures.Kareem Khalifa, Jared A. Millson & Mark Risjord - 2017 - In Kevin McCain & Ted Poston (eds.), Best Explanations: New Essays on Inference to the Best Explanation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 80-96.
    Many epistemologists take Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) to be “fundamental.” For instance, Lycan (1988, 128) writes that “all justified reasoning is fundamentally explanatory reasoning.” Conee and Feldman (2008, 97) concur: “fundamental epistemic principles are principles of best explanation.” Call them fundamentalists. They assert that nothing deeper could justify IBE, as is typically assumed of rules of deductive inference, such as modus ponens. However, logicians account for modus ponens with the valuation rule for the material conditional. By contrast, fundamentalists (...)
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  46. Trout, J. D. , Wondrous Truths: The Improbable Triumph of Modern Science, New York: Oxford University Press, 264pp, ISBN 978-0199385072. [REVIEW]Nicholas Maxwell - 2017 - Acta Baltica Historiae Et Philosophiae Scientiarum 5 (2):108-115.
  47. Best Explanations: New Essays on Inference to the Best Explanation.Kevin McCain & Ted Poston (eds.) - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    Twenty philosophers offer new essays examining the form of reasoning known as inference to the best explanation - widely used in science and in our everyday lives, yet still controversial. Best Explanations represents the state of the art when it comes to understanding, criticizing, and defending this form of reasoning.
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  48. In Defense of Weak Scientism: A Reply to Brown.Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 6 (2):9-22.
    In “What’s So Bad about Scientism?” (Mizrahi 2017), I argue that Weak Scientism, the view that “Of all the knowledge we have, scientific knowledge is the best knowledge” (Mizrahi 2017, 354; emphasis in original) is a defensible position. That is to say, Weak Scientism “can be successfully defended against objections” (Mizrahi 2017, 354). In his response to Mizrahi (2017), Christopher Brown (2017) provides more objections against Weak Scientism, and thus another opportunity for me to show that Weak Scientism is a (...)
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  49. What’s so Bad About Scientism?Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - Social Epistemology 31 (4):351-367.
    In their attempt to defend philosophy from accusations of uselessness made by prominent scientists, such as Stephen Hawking, some philosophers respond with the charge of ‘scientism.’ This charge makes endorsing a scientistic stance, a mistake by definition. For this reason, it begs the question against these critics of philosophy, or anyone who is inclined to endorse a scientistic stance, and turns the scientism debate into a verbal dispute. In this paper, I propose a different definition of scientism, and thus a (...)
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  50. Metaphysics and the Vera Causa Ideal: The Nun’s Priest’s Tale.Aaron Novick - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (5):1161-1176.
    L.A. Paul has recently defended the methodology of metaphysics on the grounds that it is continuous with the sciences. She claims that both scientists and metaphysicians use inference to the best explanation to choose between competing theories, and that the success of science vindicates the use of IBE in metaphysics. Specifically, the success of science shows that the theoretical virtues are truth-conducive. I challenge Paul’s claims on two grounds. First, I argue that, at least in biology, scientists adhere to the (...)
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