The heuristic conception of inference to the best explanation

Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1745-1766 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

An influential suggestion about the relationship between Bayesianism and inference to the best explanation holds that IBE functions as a heuristic to approximate Bayesian reasoning. While this view promises to unify Bayesianism and IBE in a very attractive manner, important elements of the view have not yet been spelled out in detail. I present and argue for a heuristic conception of IBE on which IBE serves primarily to locate the most probable available explanatory hypothesis to serve as a working hypothesis in an agent’s further investigations. Along the way, I criticize what I consider to be an overly ambitious conception of the heuristic role of IBE, according to which IBE serves as a guide to absolute probability values. My own conception, by contrast, requires only that IBE can function as a guide to the comparative probability values of available hypotheses. This is shown to be a much more realistic role for IBE given the nature and limitations of the explanatory considerations with which IBE operates.

Similar books and articles

A Likely Explanation: IBE as a Guide to Better Hypotheses.David Harker - 2011 - South African Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):16-28.
Abductively Robust Inference.Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Analysis 77 (1):20-29.
Tvö viðhorf til vísindalegrar þekkingar -- eða eitt?Finnur Dellsén - 2015 - Ritið -- Tímarit Hugvísindastofnunar 15 (1):135-155.
Inference to the Best Explanation Made Incoherent.Nevin Climenhaga - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (5):251-273.
BonJour on Explanation and Skepticism.Jonathan Vogel - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):413-421.
Abductive Knowledge and Holmesian Inference.Alexander Bird - 2005 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 1--31.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge.
Studies in the Logic of Explanatory Power.Jonah N. Schupbach - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-05-17

Downloads
338 (#33,187)

6 months
42 (#24,989)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Finnur Dellsén
University of Iceland

References found in this work

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge.

View all 75 references / Add more references