Scientific Reasoning or Damage Control: Alternative Proposals for Reasoning with Inconsistent Representations of the World

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:241 - 248 (1988)
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Inconsistent representations of the world have in fact played and should play a role in scientific inquiry. However, it would seem that logical analysis of such representations is blocked by the explosive nature of deductive inference from inconsistent premisses. "Paraconsistent logics" have been suggested as the proper way to remove this impediment and to make explication of the logic of inconsistent scientific theories possible. I argue that installing paraconsistent logic as the underlying logic for scientific inquiry is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for giving a philosophical alternative, I suggest that identification of heuristic strategies, based on the network of confirming evidence for inconsistent proposals for reasoning from such proposals to their consistent replacements is the proper way to explicate their function in science.



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