Confirmation, transitivity, and Moore: the Screening-Off Approach

Philosophical Studies (3):1-21 (2013)
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Abstract

It is well known that the probabilistic relation of confirmation is not transitive in that even if E confirms H1 and H1 confirms H2, E may not confirm H2. In this paper we distinguish four senses of confirmation and examine additional conditions under which confirmation in different senses becomes transitive. We conduct this examination both in the general case where H1 confirms H2 and in the special case where H1 also logically entails H2. Based on these analyses, we argue that the Screening-Off Condition is the most important condition for transitivity in confirmation because of its generality and ease of application. We illustrate our point with the example of Moore’s “proof” of the existence of a material world, where H1 logically entails H2, the Screening-Off Condition holds, and confirmation in all four senses turns out to be transitive

Author Profiles

William Roche
Texas Christian University
Tomoji Shogenji
Rhode Island College

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