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  1. Truth-Seeking by Abduction.Ilkka Niiniluoto - 2018 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
    This book examines the philosophical conception of abductive reasoning as developed by Charles S. Peirce, the founder of American pragmatism. It explores the historical and systematic connections of Peirce's original ideas and debates about their interpretations. Abduction is understood in a broad sense which covers the discovery and pursuit of hypotheses and inference to the best explanation. The analysis presents fresh insights into this notion of reasoning, which derives from effects to causes or from surprising observations to explanatory theories. The (...)
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  • That’s Not IBE: Reply to Park.Yunus Prasetya - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-7.
    Park (2017, 2018, 2019) argues that Bas van Fraassen uses inference to the best explanation to defend his contextual theory of explanation. If Park is right, then van Fraassen is in trouble because he rejects IBE as a rational rule of inference. In this reply, I argue that van Fraassen does not use IBE in defending the contextual theory of explanation. I distinguish between several conceptions of IBE: heuristic IBE, objective Bayesian IBE, and ampliative IBE. I argue that van Fraassen (...)
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  • Inference to the Best Explanation Made Incoherent.Nevin Climenhaga - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (5):251-273.
    Defenders of Inference to the Best Explanation claim that explanatory factors should play an important role in empirical inference. They disagree, however, about how exactly to formulate this role. In particular, they disagree about whether to formulate IBE as an inference rule for full beliefs or for degrees of belief, as well as how a rule for degrees of belief should relate to Bayesianism. In this essay I advance a new argument against non-Bayesian versions of IBE. My argument focuses on (...)
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  • Molinism: Explaining Our Freedom Away.Nevin Climenhaga & Daniel Rubio - forthcoming - Mind:fzab042.
    Molinists hold that there are contingently true counterfactuals about what agents would do if put in specific circumstances, that God knows these prior to creation, and that God uses this knowledge in choosing how to create. In this essay we critique Molinism, arguing that if these theses were true, agents would not be free. Consider Eve’s sinning upon being tempted by a serpent. We argue that if Molinism is true, then there is some set of facts that fully explains both (...)
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  • Presume It Not: True Causes in the Search for the Basis of Heredity.Aaron Novick & Raphael Scholl - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1):axy001.
    Kyle Stanford has recently given substance to the problem of unconceived alternatives, which challenges the reliability of inference to the best explanation (IBE) in remote domains of nature. Conjoined with the view that IBE is the central inferential tool at our disposal in investigating these domains, the problem of unconceived alternatives leads to scientific anti-realism. We argue that, at least within the biological community, scientists are now and have long been aware of the dangers of IBE. We re-analyze the nineteenth-century (...)
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  • Evidence and Inductive Inference.Nevin Climenhaga - 2021 - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton Littlejohn (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence. Routledge.
    This chapter presents a typology of the different kinds of inductive inferences we can draw from our evidence, based on the explanatory relationship between evidence and conclusion. Drawing on the literature on graphical models of explanation, I divide inductive inferences into (a) downwards inferences, which proceed from cause to effect, (b) upwards inferences, which proceed from effect to cause, and (c) sideways inferences, which proceed first from effect to cause and then from that cause to an additional effect. I further (...)
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  • Is Epistemic Anxiety an Intellectual Virtue?Frank Cabrera - 2021 - Synthese:1-25.
    In this paper, I discuss the ways in which epistemic anxiety promotes well-being, specifically by examining the positive contributions that feelings of epistemic anxiety make toward intellectually virtuous inquiry. While the prospects for connecting the concept of epistemic anxiety to the two most prominent accounts of intellectual virtue, i.e., “virtue-reliabilism” and “virtue-responsibilism”, are promising, I primarily focus on whether the capacity for epistemic anxiety counts as an intellectual virtue in the reliabilist sense. As I argue, there is a close yet (...)
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  • The Fate of Explanatory Reasoning in the Age of Big Data.Frank Cabrera - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology:1-21.
    In this paper, I critically evaluate several related, provocative claims made by proponents of data-intensive science and “Big Data” which bear on scientific methodology, especially the claim that scientists will soon no longer have any use for familiar concepts like causation and explanation. After introducing the issue, in section 2, I elaborate on the alleged changes to scientific method that feature prominently in discussions of Big Data. In section 3, I argue that these methodological claims are in tension with a (...)
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  • The Evidential Relevance of Explanatoriness: A Reply to Roche and Sober.Marc Lange - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):303-312.
    Roche and Sober have offered a new argument for the view that a hypothesis H is not confirmed by its capacity to explain some observation O. Their argument purports to work by showing that O screens H off from the fact that H would explain O. This paper offers several objections to this argument. Firstly, the screening-off test cannot identify whatever evidential contribution Hs explanatoriness may make. Secondly, that H would explain O may be logically necessary, eluding the screening-off test. (...)
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  • Abduction.Igorn D. Douven - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Most philosophers agree that abduction (in the sense of Inference to the Best Explanation) is a type of inference that is frequently employed, in some form or other, both in everyday and in scientific reasoning. However, the exact form as well as the normative status of abduction are still matters of controversy. This entry contrasts abduction with other types of inference; points at prominent uses of it, both in and outside philosophy; considers various more or less precise statements of it; (...)
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  • The Structure of Epistemic Probabilities.Nevin Climenhaga - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3213-3242.
    The epistemic probability of A given B is the degree to which B evidentially supports A, or makes A plausible. This paper is a first step in answering the question of what determines the values of epistemic probabilities. I break this question into two parts: the structural question and the substantive question. Just as an object’s weight is determined by its mass and gravitational acceleration, some probabilities are determined by other, more basic ones. The structural question asks what probabilities are (...)
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  • Background Beliefs and Plausibility Thresholds: Defending Explanationist Evidentialism.Matt Lutz - 2020 - Synthese 197 (6):2631-2647.
    In a recent paper, Appley and Stoutenburg present two new objections to Explanationist Evidentialism : the Regress Objection and the Threshold Objection. In this paper, I develop a version of EE that is independently plausible and empirically grounded, and show that it can meet Appley and Stoutenburg’s objections.
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  • Inductive Explanation and Garber–Style Solutions to the Problem of Old Evidence.David Kinney - 2017 - Synthese:1-15.
    The Problem of Old Evidence is a perennial issue for Bayesian confirmation theory. Garber famously argues that the problem can be solved by conditionalizing on the proposition that a hypothesis deductively implies the existence of the old evidence. In recent work, Hartmann and Fitelson :712–717, 2015) and Sprenger :383–401, 2015) aim for similar, but more general, solutions to the Problem of Old Evidence. These solutions are more general because they allow the explanatory relationship between a new hypothesis and old evidence (...)
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  • Is Explanatoriness a Guide to Confirmation? A Reply to Climenhaga.William Roche & Elliott Sober - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (4):581-590.
    We argued that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant in the following sense: Let H be a hypothesis, O an observation, and E the proposition that H would explain O if H and O were true. Then our claim is that Pr = Pr. We defended this screening-off thesis by discussing an example concerning smoking and cancer. Climenhaga argues that SOT is mistaken because it delivers the wrong verdict about a slightly different smoking-and-cancer case. He also considers a variant of SOT, called (...)
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  • What Inference to the Best Explanation Is Not: A Response to Roche and Sober's Screening-Off Challenge to IBE.Marc Lange - 2020 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 39:27-42.
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  • Evidence and Explanation in Cicero's On Divination.Frank Cabrera - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 82:34-43.
    In this paper, I examine Cicero’s oft-neglected De Divinatione, a dialogue investigating the legitimacy of the practice of divination. First, I offer a novel analysis of the main arguments for divination given by Quintus, highlighting the fact that he employs two logically distinct argument forms. Next, I turn to the first of the main arguments against divination given by Marcus. Here I show, with the help of modern probabilistic tools, that Marcus’ skeptical response is far from the decisive, proto-naturalistic assault (...)
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  • Explanationism provides the best explanation of the epistemic significance of peer disagreement.Matt Lutz - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1811-1828.
    In this paper, I provide a novel explanationist framework for thinking about peer disagreement that solves many of the puzzles regarding disagreement that have troubled epistemologists over the last two decades. Explanationism is the view that a subject is justified in believing a proposition just in case that proposition is part of the best explanation of that subject’s total evidence. Applying explanationism to the problem of peer disagreement yields the following principle: in cases of peer disagreement, the thing that the (...)
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  • The Perils of Parsimony.William Roche - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (9):485-505.
    It is widely thought in philosophy and elsewhere that parsimony is a theoretical virtue in that if T1 is more parsimonious than T2, then T1 is preferable to T2, other things being equal. This thesis admits of many distinct precisifications. I focus on a relatively weak precisification on which preferability is a matter of probability, and argue that it is false. This is problematic for various alternative precisifications, and even for Inference to the Best Explanation as standardly understood.
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  • Inference to the Best Explanation and the Screening-Off Challenge.William Roche & Elliott Sober - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 38:121-142.
    We argue in Roche and Sober (2013) that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant in that Pr(H | O&EXPL) = Pr(H | O), where H is a hypothesis, O is an observation, and EXPL is the proposition that if H and O were true, then H would explain O. This is a “screening-off” thesis. Here we clarify that thesis, reply to criticisms advanced by Lange (2017), consider alternative formulations of Inference to the Best Explanation, discuss a strengthened screening-off thesis, and consider how (...)
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