Abstract
The paper examines Wesley Salmon’s claim that the primary role of plausibility arguments in the history of science is to impose constraints on the prior probability of hypotheses. A detailed look at Copernicanism and Darwinism and, more briefly, Rutherford’s discovery of the atomic nucleus reveals a further and arguably more important role of plausibility arguments. It resides in the consideration of likelihoods, which state how likely a given hypothesis makes a given piece of evidence. In each case the likelihoods raise the probability of one of the competing hypotheses and diminish the credibility of its rival, and this may happen either on the basis of ‘old’ or ‘new’ evidence.Keywords: Copernicanism; Darwinism; Atom models; Bayesianism; Likelihoods; Probability arguments.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2009.12.003
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References found in this work BETA

Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.Galileo Galilei & Stillman Drake - 1954 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 5 (19):253-256.
Testability.Elliott Sober - 1999 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 73 (2):47-76.
Intelligent Design and Probability Reasoning.Elliott Sober - 2002 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 52 (2):65-80.
Bayesian Induction Is Eliminative Induction.James Hawthorne - 1993 - Philosophical Topics 21 (1):99-138.
Dialogue on the Great World Systems.Galileo Galilei, Pierre Duhem & Phillip P. Wiener - 1957 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 8 (31):237-248.

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