Inference to the Best Explanation Made Incoherent

Journal of Philosophy 114 (5):251-273 (2017)
Authors
Nevin Climenhaga
Australian Catholic University
Abstract
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 cases in which we are concerned with multiple levels of explanation of some phenomenon. I show that in many such cases, following IBE as an inference rule for full beliefs leads to deductively inconsistent beliefs, and following IBE as a non-Bayesian updating rule for degrees of belief leads to probabilistically incoherent degrees of belief.
Keywords Explanation  Inference to the Best Explanation  Conditionalization  Bayesian epistemology  Probability
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DOI 10.5840/jphil2017114519
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References found in this work BETA

Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 2004 - Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

How Explanation Guides Confirmation.Nevin Climenhaga - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):359-68.
Abduction.Igor Douven - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Perils of Parsimony.William Roche - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (9):485-505.
Abductively Robust Inference.Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Analysis 77 (1):20-29.
The Intrinsic Probability of Theism.Calum Miller - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (10):e12523.

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