On the predilections for predictions

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):429-453 (2008)
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Scientific theories are developed in response to a certain set of phenomena and subsequently evaluated, at least partially, in terms of the quality of fit between those same theories and appropriately distinctive phenomena. To differentiate between these two stages it is popular to describe the former as involving the accommodation of data and the latter as involving the prediction of data. Predictivism is the view that, ceteris paribus, correctly predicting data confers greater confirmation than successfully accommodating data. In this paper, I take issue with a variety of predictivist theses, argue that their role for issues of confirmation is extremely limited, and attempt to account for the appeal that predictivism has enjoyed. Introduction Temporal Predictivism Heuristic Predictivism Weak Predictivism 4.1 Inference to better theories 4.2 Inference to better methods Arguments for Strong Heuristic Predictivism 5.1 Best explanations argument 5.2 Conditional support 5.3 Unique explanations Increased Explanatory Unification 6.1 Explaining what other theories can't 6.2 Contrived hypotheses 6.2 Strength and simplicity Conclusions CiteULike    Connotea    Del.icio.us    What's this?



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David Harker
East Tennessee State University

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