Subjective and objective confirmation

Philosophy of Science 63 (2):149-174 (1996)

Abstract
Confirmation is commonly identified with positive relevance, E being said to confirm H if and only if E increases the probability of H. Today, analyses of this general kind are usually Bayesian ones that take the relevant probabilities to be subjective. I argue that these subjective Bayesian analyses are irremediably flawed. In their place I propose a relevance analysis that makes confirmation objective and which, I show, avoids the flaws of the subjective analyses. What I am proposing is in some ways a return to Carnap's conception of confirmation, though there are also important differences between my analysis and his. My analysis includes new accounts of what evidence is and of the indexicality of confirmation claims. Finally, I defend my analysis against Achinstein's criticisms of the relevance concept of confirmation
Keywords evidence observation confirmation
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DOI 10.1086/289906
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