The Scope of Bayesian Reasoning


Abstract
The Bayesian view of inference has become popular in philosophy in recent years. Scientific Reasoning: a Bayesian Approach, by Colin Howson and Peter Urbach, represents an articulate and persuasive defense of the Bayesian view. We focus on the theme of that book, and argue that there are difficulties with Bayesianism, and alternatives worth considering. One of the most serious drawbacks to Bayesianism is the subjectivity that pervades most versions of it. We argue that this is an instance of a more general contemporary tendency to move away from claims of objectivity, and toward frankly subjective views. This results from a desire to find a deductive, incorrigible, basis for scientific inference. We claim that such a desire is doomed to frustration, but that does not spell the end of efforts to formalize inductive reasoning.
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