Probability and Inductive Logic


Reasoning from inconclusive evidence, or ‘induction’, is central to science and any applications we make of it. For that reason alone it demands the attention of philosophers of science. This Element explores the prospects of using probability theory to provide an inductive logic, a framework for representing evidential support. Constraints on the ideal evaluation of hypotheses suggest that overall support for a hypothesis is represented by its probability in light of the total evidence, and incremental support, or confirmation, indicated by an increased probability given the evidence than otherwise. This proposal is shown to have the capacity to reconstruct many canons of the scientific method and inductive inference. Along the way, significant objections are discussed, such as the challenge from inductive scepticism and the objection that the probabilistic approach makes evidential support arbitrary.

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Antony Eagle
University of Adelaide


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