That’s Not IBE: Reply to Park

Axiomathes 32 (2):621-627 (2022)
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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 holds the ampliative conception of IBE and that his rejection of IBE concerns only ampliative IBE. I also argue that van Fraassen’s defense of the contextual theory of explanation, at best, can be interpreted as an instance of heuristic IBE, but not ampliative IBE. Therefore, I argue, Park’s criticism of van Fraassen misfires.

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Yunus Prasetya
Yale-NUS College


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