Evading the IRS

In Martin R. Jones & Nancy Cartwright (eds.), Idealization XII: Correcting the Model: Idealization and Abstraction in the Sciences (2005)
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Abstract

'IRS' is our term for the logical empiricist idea that the best way to understand the epistemic bearing of observational evidence on scientific theories is to model it in terms of Inferential Relations among Sentences representing the evidence, and sentences representing hypotheses the evidence is used to evaluate. Developing ideas from our earlier work, including 'Saving the Phenomena'(Phil Review 97, 1988, p.303-52 )we argue that the bearing of observational evidence on theory depends upon causal connections and error characteristics of the processes by which data is produced and used to detect features of phenomena. Neither of these depends upon, or is greatly illuminated by a consideration of, formal relations among observation and theoretical sentences or propositions. By taking causal structures and error characteristics, you too can evade the IRS. In doing so, you can gain insight into Hempel’s raven paradox, theory loading, and other issues from the standard philosophical literature on confirmation theory.

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Author Profiles

James Bogen
University of Pittsburgh
James Woodward
University of Pittsburgh

Citations of this work

Regularities and causality; generalizations and causal explanations.Jim Bogen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):397-420.
Evidence Enriched.Nora Mills Boyd - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (3):403-421.
Saving the Data.Greg Lusk - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (1):277-298.

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