# The Logic of Theory Assessment

*Journal of Philosophical Logic*36 (5):511-538 (2007)

**Abstract**

This paper starts by indicating the analysis of Hempel's conditions of adequacy for any relation of confirmation (Hempel, 1945) as presented in Huber (submitted). There I argue contra Carnap (1962, Section 87) that Hempel felt the need for two concepts of confirmation: one aiming at plausible theories and another aiming at informative theories. However, he also realized that these two concepts are conflicting, and he gave up the concept of confirmation aiming at informative theories. The main part of the paper consists in working out the claim that one can have Hempel's cake and eat it too - in the sense that there is a logic of theory assessment that takes into account both of the two conflicting aspects of plausibility and informativeness. According to the semantics of this logic, a is an acceptable theory for evidence β if and only if a is both sufficiently plausible given β and sufficiently informative about β. This is spelt out in terms of ranking functions (Spohn, 1988) and shown to represent the syntactically specified notion of an assessment relation. The paper then compares these acceptability relations to explanatory and confirmatory consequence relations (Flach, 2000) as well as to nonmonotonic consequence relations (Kraus et al., 1990). It concludes by relating the plausibility-informativeness approach to Carnap's positive relevance account, thereby shedding new light on Carnap's analysis as well as solving another problem of confirmation theory

**Keywords**

**Categories**

**PhilPapers/Archive ID**

HUBTLO

**Revision history**

Archival date: 2014-07-09

View upload history

View upload history

References found in this work BETA

Logical Foundations of Probability.Carnap, Rudolf

The Foundations of Causal Decision Theory.Joyce, James M.

The Plurality of Bayesian Measures of Confirmation and the Problem of Measure Sensitivity.Fitelson, Branden

Causation, Decision, Belief Change and Statistics.Spohn, Wolfgang

Studies in the Logic of Confirmation.Hempel, Carl A.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Assessing Theories, Bayes Style.Huber, Franz

Hempel’s Logic of Confirmation.Huber, Franz

**Added to PP index**

2009-01-28

**Total downloads**

153 ( #16,083 of 37,108 )

**Recent downloads (6 months)**

8 ( #28,818 of 37,108 )

How can I increase my downloads?

**Monthly downloads since first upload**

*This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.*