Explanatory Value and Probabilistic Reasoning

Jan Sprenger
University of Turin
Matteo Colombo
Tilburg University
The question of how judgments of explanatory value inform probabilistic inference is well studied within psychology and philosophy. Less studied are the questions: How does probabilistic information affect judgments of explanatory value? Does probabilistic information take precedence over causal information in determining explanatory judgments? To answer these questions, we conducted two experimental studies. In Study 1, we found that probabilistic information had a negligible impact on explanatory judgments of event-types with a potentially unlimited number of available, alternative explanations; causal credibility was the main determinant of explanatory value. In Study 2, we found that, for event-token explanations with a definite set of candidate alternatives, probabilistic information strongly affected judgments of explanatory value. In the light of these findings, we reassess under which circumstances explanatory inference is probabilistically sound.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,097
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Studies in the Logic of Explanatory Power.Jonah N. Schupbach - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
Probabilistic Causation and the Explanatory Role of Natural Selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 42 (3):344-355.
The Logic of Explanatory Power.Jonah N. Schupbach & Jan Sprenger - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (1):105-127.
Aggregating Causal Judgments.Richard Bradley, Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (4):491-515.
Causal Explanatory Power.Benjamin Eva & Reuben Stern - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy012.
Against Explanatory Realism.Elanor Taylor - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):197-219.
Do Large Probabilities Explain Better?Michael Strevens - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (3):366-390.
Explanatory Exclusion History and Social Science.Mark Day - 2004 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (1):20-37.


Added to PP index

Total views
3 ( #918,155 of 2,313,468 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #549,066 of 2,313,468 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature