Probability and the Explanatory Virtues: Figure 1

Clark Glymour
Carnegie Mellon University
Recent literature in philosophy of science has addressed purported notions of explanatory virtues—‘explanatory power’, ‘unification’, and ‘coherence’. In each case, a probabilistic relation between a theory and data is said to measure the power of an explanation, or degree of unification, or degree of coherence. This essay argues that the measures do not capture cases that are paradigms of scientific explanation, that the available psychological evidence indicates that the measures do not capture judgements of explanatory power, and, finally, that the measures do not provide useful methods for selecting hypotheses. 1. Introduction2. Some Proposed Measures of Explanatory Virtues3. Descriptive Inadequacy3.1 Excellent but false explanations3.2 Causal explanation4. Psychological Inadequacy5. Finding the Truth6. Conclusion
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axt051
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: 43,780
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Logic of Explanatory Power.Jonah N. Schupbach & Jan Sprenger - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (1):105-127.
A Probabilistic Theory of Coherence.Branden Fitelson - 2003 - Analysis 63 (3):194–199.
A Probabilistic Theory of Coherence.B. Fitelson - 2003 - Analysis 63 (3):194-199.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

On the Evidential Import of Unification.Wayne C. Myrvold - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):92-114.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

An Inquiry Into the Explanatory Virtues of Transaction Cost Economics.Lukasz Hardt - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Economics 5 (1):120-147.
A Likely Explanation: IBE as a Guide to Better Hypotheses.David Harker - 2011 - South African Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):16-28.
Emotions Among the Virtues of the Christian Life.Robert C. Roberts - 1992 - Journal of Religious Ethics 20 (1):37 - 68.
Confirmation, Heuristics, and Explanatory Reasoning.Timothy McGrew - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (4):553-567.
The Empirical Virtues of Belief.Andrew Cling - 1991 - Philosophical Psychology 4 (3):303-23.
Virtues and Their Vices.Timpe Kevin & Boyd Craig (eds.) - 2013 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Objective Probability Theory Theory.Ellery Eells - 1983 - Synthese 57 (3):387 - 442.
The Explanatory Virtues of Probabilistic Causal Laws.Henrik Hallsten - 2005 - In Jan Faye, Paul Needham, Uwe Scheffler & Max Urchs (eds.), Nature's Principles. Springer. pp. 137--150.
Dissecting Explanatory Power.Petri Ylikoski & Jaakko Kuorikoski - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (2):201–219.
Studies in the Logic of Explanatory Power.Jonah N. Schupbach - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
In Defense of the Primacy of the Virtues.Jason Kawall - 2009 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 3 (2):1-21.


Added to PP index

Total views
96 ( #84,097 of 2,265,040 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #84,211 of 2,265,040 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature