The Appraisal of Theories: Kuhn Meets Bayes

This paper claims that adoption of Bayes's theorem as the schema for the appraisal of scientific theories can greatly reduce the distance between Kuhnians and logical empiricists. It is argued that plausibility considerations, which Kuhn considered outside of the logic of science, can be construed as prior probabilities, which play an indispensable role in the logic of science. Problems concerning likelihoods, especially the likelihood on the "catchall," are also considered. Severe difficulties concerning the significance of this probability arise in the evaluation of individual theories, but they can be avoided by restricting our judgments to comparative assessments of competing theories.
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Gordon Belot (forthcoming). Curve-Fitting for Bayesians? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv061.
John R. Welch (2011). Decision Theory and Cognitive Choice. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):147-172.
Harold I. Brown (2005). Incommensurability Reconsidered. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 36 (1):149-169.
Stephan Hartmann (2002). On Correspondence. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 33 (1):79-94.

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