Authors
Finnur Dellsén
University of Iceland
Abstract
As it is standardly conceived, Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) is a form of ampliative inference in which one infers a hypothesis because it provides a better potential explanation of one’s evidence than any other available, competing explanatory hypothesis. Bas van Fraassen famously objected to IBE thus formulated that we may have no reason to think that any of the available, competing explanatory hypotheses are true. While revisionary responses to the Bad Lot Objection concede that IBE needs to be reformulated in light of this problem, reactionary responses argue that the Bad Lot Objection is fallacious, incoherent, or misguided. This paper shows that the most influential reactionary responses to the Bad Lot Objection do nothing to undermine the original objection. This strongly suggests that proponents of IBE should focus their efforts on revisionary responses, i.e. on finding a more sophisticated characterization of IBE for which the Bad Lot Objection loses its bite.
Keywords inference to the best explanation  the bad lot objection  underconsideration  ranking of theories  inductive cogency
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2017.01.005
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References found in this work BETA

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.

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Citations of this work BETA

Abduction.Igorn D. Douven - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Explanatory Consolidation: From ‘Best’ to ‘Good Enough’.Finnur Dellsén - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):157-177.

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