On the Evidential Import of Unification

Philosophy of Science 84 (1):92-114 (2017)
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Abstract

This paper discusses two senses in which a hypothesis may be said to unify evidence. One is the ability of the hypothesis to increase the mutual information of a set of evidence statements; the other is the ability of the hypothesis to explain commonalities in observed phenomena by positing a common origin for them. On Bayesian updating, it is only mutual information unification that contributes to the incremental support of a hypothesis by the evidence unified. This poses a challenge for the view that explanation is a confirmatory virtue that contributes to such incremental support; its advocates must ground it in some relevant difference between humans and a Bayesian agent.

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Citations of this work

Does IBE Require a ‘Model’ of Explanation?Frank Cabrera - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):727-750.
The Unity of Science.Jordi Cat - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Modeling creative abduction Bayesian style.Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla & Alexander Gebharter - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):1-15.

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References found in this work

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
The Direction of Time.Hans Reichenbach - 1956 - Dover Publications.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge.
The Logic of Scientific Discovery.Karl Popper - 1959 - Studia Logica 9:262-265.

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