Coherence and Confirmation through Causation

Mind 122 (485):135-170 (2013)
Authors
Richard Scheines
Carnegie Mellon University
Abstract
Coherentism maintains that coherent beliefs are more likely to be true than incoherent beliefs, and that coherent evidence provides more confirmation of a hypothesis when the evidence is made coherent by the explanation provided by that hypothesis. Although probabilistic models of credence ought to be well-suited to justifying such claims, negative results from Bayesian epistemology have suggested otherwise. In this essay we argue that the connection between coherence and confirmation should be understood as a relation mediated by the causal relationships among the evidence and a hypothesis, and we offer a framework for doing so by fitting together probabilistic models of coherence, confirmation, and causation. We show that the causal structure among the evidence and hypothesis is sometimes enough to determine whether the coherence of the evidence boosts confirmation of the hypothesis, makes no difference to it, or even reduces it. We also show that, ceteris paribus, it is not the coherence of the evidence that boosts confirmation, but rather the ratio of the coherence of the evidence to the coherence of the evidence conditional on a hypothesis
Keywords Coherentism  Confirmation  Causal Bayes Nets
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzt019
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References found in this work BETA

Focused Correlation and Confirmation.Gregory Wheeler - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (1):79-100.
What Price Coherence?Peter Klein & Ted A. Warfield - 1994 - Analysis 54 (3):129 - 132.
Is Coherence Truth Conducive?T. Shogenji - 1999 - Analysis 59 (4):338-345.

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Citations of this work BETA

Epistemology of Causal Inference in Pharmacology.Jürgen Landes, Barbara Osimani & Roland Poellinger - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (1):3-49.
Information, Confirmation, and Conditionals.Peter Milne - 2014 - Journal of Applied Logic 12 (3):252-262.
Demystifying Dilation.Arthur Paul Pedersen & Gregory Wheeler - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (6):1305-1342.
Probability and the Explanatory Virtues: Figure 1.Clark Glymour - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):591-604.

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Causation, Association, and Confirmation.Gregory Wheeler & Richard Scheines - 2010 - In Stephan Hartmann, Marcel Weber, Wenceslao Gonzalez, Dennis Dieks & Thomas Uebe (eds.), Explanation, Prediction, and Confirmation: New Trends and Old Ones Reconsidered. Springer. pp. 37--51.
Confirmation of Scientific Hypotheses as Relations.Aysel Dogan - 2005 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 36 (2):243 - 259.
Confirmation Theory.James Hawthorne - 2011 - In Prasanta S. Bandyopadhyay & Malcolm Forster (eds.), Philosophy of Statistics, Handbook of the Philosophy of Science, Volume 7. Elsevier.

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