Inference to the Best Explanation: Is It Really Different from Mill’s Methods?

Philosophy of Science 63 (1):65-80 (1996)
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Peter Lipton has attempted to flesh out a model of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) by clarifying explanation in terms of a causal model. But Lipton's account of explanation makes an adequate explanation depend on a principle which is virtually identical to Mill's Method of Difference. This has the result of collapsing IBE on Lipton's account of it into causal inference as conceived by the Causal-Inference model of induction. According to this model, many of our inductions are inferences from effects to their probable causes, and Mill's Methods are canons to guide such inferences. Thus, Lipton's account of IBE fails to represent an advance over the already familiar Causal-Inference Model of induction



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