On Popper’s strong inductivism


Authors
José Antonio Díez Calzada
Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract
It is generally accepted that Popper‘s degree of corroboration, though “inductivist” in a very general and weak sense, is not inductivist in a strong sense, i.e. when by ‘inductivism’ we mean the thesis that the right measure of evidential support has a probabilistic character. The aim of this paper is to challenge this common view by arguing that Popper can be regarded as an inductivist, not only in the weak broad sense but also in a narrower, probabilistic sense. In section 2, first, I begin by briefly characterizing the relevant notion of inductivism that is at stake here; second, I present and discuss the main Popperian argument against it and show that in the only reading in which the argument is formally it is restricted to cases of predicted evidence, and that even if restricted in this way the argument is formally valid it is nevertheless materially unsound. In section 3, I analyze the desiderata that, according to Popper, any acceptable measure for evidential support must satisfy, I clean away its ad-hoc components and show that all the remaining desiderata are satisfied by inductuvist-in-strict-sense measures. In section 4 I demonstrate that two of these desiderata, accepted by Popper, imply that in cases of predicted evidence any measure that satisfies them is qualitatively indistinguishable from conditional probability. Finally I defend that this amounts to a kind of strong inductivism that enters into conflict with Popper’s anti-inductivist argument and declarations, and that this conflict does not depend on the incremental versus non-incremental distinction for evidential-support measures, making Popper’s position inconsistent in any reading.Keywords: Popper; Inductivism; Confirmation; Corroboration.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2010.11.023
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References found in this work BETA

Degree of Factual Support.John G. Kemeny & Paul Oppenheim - 1952 - Philosophy of Science 19 (4):307-324.
Karl Popper’s Philosophical Breakthrough.Stefano Gattei - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (4):448-466.

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Two Impossibility Results for Measures of Corroboration.Jan Sprenger - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69:139--159.

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