The Logic of Theory Assessment

Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (5):511-538 (2007)
Abstract
This paper starts by indicating the analysis of Hempel's conditions of adequacy for any relation of confirmation (Hempel, 1945) as presented in Huber (submitted). There I argue contra Carnap (1962, Section 87) that Hempel felt the need for two concepts of confirmation: one aiming at plausible theories and another aiming at informative theories. However, he also realized that these two concepts are conflicting, and he gave up the concept of confirmation aiming at informative theories. The main part of the paper consists in working out the claim that one can have Hempel's cake and eat it too - in the sense that there is a logic of theory assessment that takes into account both of the two conflicting aspects of plausibility and informativeness. According to the semantics of this logic, a is an acceptable theory for evidence β if and only if a is both sufficiently plausible given β and sufficiently informative about β. This is spelt out in terms of ranking functions (Spohn, 1988) and shown to represent the syntactically specified notion of an assessment relation. The paper then compares these acceptability relations to explanatory and confirmatory consequence relations (Flach, 2000) as well as to nonmonotonic consequence relations (Kraus et al., 1990). It concludes by relating the plausibility-informativeness approach to Carnap's positive relevance account, thereby shedding new light on Carnap's analysis as well as solving another problem of confirmation theory
Keywords confirmation theory  consequence relations  plausibility-informativeness theory  probability measures  ranking functions  theory assessment
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DOI 10.1007/s10992-006-9044-9
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References found in this work BETA
Logical Foundations of Probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago]University of Chicago Press.
Measuring Confirmation.David Christensen - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (9):437-461.

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Citations of this work BETA
Assessing Theories, Bayes Style.Franz Huber - 2008 - Synthese 161 (1):89-118.
Hempel's Logic of Confirmation.Franz Huber - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 139 (2):181 - 189.
Hempel’s Logic of Confirmation.Franz Huber - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 139 (2):181-189.

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