Objective evidence and absence: Comment on Sober

Philosophical Studies 143 (1):91 - 100 (2009)

Michael Strevens
New York University
Elliott 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.
Keywords Likelihood  Evidence  Elliott Sober
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-008-9312-3
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References found in this work BETA

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.
The Bayesian Treatment of Auxiliary Hypotheses.Michael Strevens - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (3):515-537.

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Realism and the Absence of Rivals.Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2427-2446.
Evidence in Biology and the Conditions of Success.Jacob Stegenga - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (6):981-1004.

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