Authors
Elliott Sober
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Christopher Hitchcock
California Institute of Technology
Abstract
an observation to formulate a theory, it is no surprise that the resulting theory accurately captures that observation. However, when the theory makes a novel prediction—when it predicts an observation that was not used in its formulation—this seems to provide more substantial confirmation of the theory. This paper presents a new approach to the vexed problem of understanding the epistemic difference between prediction and accommodation. In fact, there are several problems that need to be disentangled; in all of them, the key is the concept of overfitting. We float the hypothesis that accommodation is a defective methodology only when the methods used to accommodate the data fail to guard against the risk of overfitting. We connect our analysis with the proposals that other philosophers have made. We also discuss its bearing on the conflict between instrumentalism and scientific realism. Introduction Predictivisms—a taxonomy Observations Formulating the problem What might Annie be doing wrong? Solutions Observations explained Mayo on severe tests The miracle argument and scientific realism Concluding comments.
Keywords Prediction and Accommodation   Philosophy of Science   Realism
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/55.1.1
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References found in this work BETA

Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge.
Philosophy of Natural Science.Carl Gustav Hempel - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.

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Citations of this work BETA

The No Alternatives Argument.Richard Dawid, Stephan Hartmann & Jan Sprenger - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):213-234.
Scientific Realism.Richard Boyd - 1984 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 21 (1&2):767-791.
Logical Predictivism.Ben Martin & Ole Hjortland - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 50 (2):285-318.
Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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