Philosophical Studies 143 (1):91 - 100 (2009)
AbstractElliott Sober argues that the statistical slogan “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” cannot be taken literally: it must be interpreted charitably as claiming that the absence of evidence is (typically) not very much evidence of absence. I offer an alternative interpretation, on which the slogan claims that absence of evidence is (typically) not objective evidence of absence. I sketch a definition of objective evidence, founded in the notion of an epistemically objective likelihood, and I show that in Sober’s paradigm case, the slogan can, on this understanding, be sustained.
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References found in this work
A Subjectivist’s Guide to Objective Chance.David K. Lewis - 1980 - In Richard C. Jeffrey (ed.), Studies in Inductive Logic and Probability, Volume II. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 263-293.
Evidence and Evolution: The Logic Behind the Science.Elliott Sober - 2008 - Cambridge University Press.
Absence of Evidence and Evidence of Absence: Evidential Transitivity in Connection with Fossils, Fishing, Fine-Tuning, and Firing Squads.Elliott Sober - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (1):63-90.
The Bayesian Treatment of Auxiliary Hypotheses.Michael Strevens - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (3):515-537.